Volcanic eruption in the Caribbean —cruise lines send ships to assist evacuation

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Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp. have sent ships to southern Caribbean to help evacuate St. Vincent.

The La Soufriere volcano has erupted on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, forcing thousands to evacuate from the surrounding area, reports Reuters. The cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp. have sent ships to assist in the evacuation.

La Soufriere has been dormant since 1979, but started showing signs of activity in December. Last week it erupted, sending a plume of smoke and ash 10km high that blotted out the sun. The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, ordered an evacuation late last Thursday.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a population of 100,000 and are popular ports of call for cruise liners. The eruption is predicted to affect the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada.

4,500 residents living near the volcano have already been evacuated by sea. Poor visibility from the heavy ash that is falling is hampering the evacuation effort and Gonsalves says it could be four months before evacuees can return home.

Increased volcanic activity is also being reported from Mount Pelee on neighbouring Martinique

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