It was one year ago that volcanic ash began billowing out of the La Soufrière volcano on the main island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines—the first time in 42 years. Vincentians were alerted to increased activity within the volcano and knew the eruption was imminent, but there was little that could prepare the community for the first massive eruption on April 9th and weeks of continued eruptions and ash fall that would ensue.
Communities in the north were forced to evacuate, moving south towards safety and away from the intense ash fall. The wildlife in the area attempted a similar trajectory. Unable to forage in the wild as normal, however, and disoriented by the ash fall, many wildlife species – including the vulnerable St. Vincent Parrot, the National bird – were in danger.
BirdsCaribbean jumped into action, joining concerned wildlife conservation organizations to create an emergency group* that quickly raised funds and provided much-needed assistance to the Forestry Department working on-the-ground in St. Vincent. Key partner, the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF), provided critical help in getting all the supplies purchased by BirdsCaribbean, their organization, and our group to St. Vincent. Items included boots for all Forestry staff, binoculars, cutlasses, knives, backpacks, two-way radios, GPS units, Go Pro and Canon cameras, respirators, camping gear, ponchos, veterinary supplies, parrot food, chain saws, aviary wire, and many other tools and hardware to repair and enhance the parrot aviary.
Sincere thanks to our BirdsCaribbean community who responded quickly and generously to our appeal to aid St. Vincent in their hour of need. Your support provided the emergency funding needed to rescue and care for threatened parrots facing a loss of habitat and food, and for the long and hard work that followed, including clearing trails and waterways, searching for injured parrots and other wildlife, providing supplementary food (fresh fruit, nuts) to parrots, and repairing park infrastructure and the parrot aviary. Your support also enabled the Forestry Department to conduct a simultaneous census of the St. Vincent Parrot at 20 watch points and 10 “gap watches,” from 17-21 Sept, 2021 — the first complete census of the population since 2010.
To mark one year since the devastating eruptions, we caught up with Bradford Latham, Program Officer for Wildlife and Law Compliance and Enforcement in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Forestry Department, to learn how the island, its people, and the wildlife are recovering.
Take us back to the first few days of the eruptions. What was that like?
“The 9th of April was a Friday and I was busy making preparations. I am in charge of the Nicholls Wildlife Complex at the St Vincent Botanical Gardens, where we do captive breeding, so I was installing water tanks at the aviaries, trying to ensure that I had extra water storage in place for the care of the birds in case of an eruption – which we were expecting. I had just completed that task when I learned that La Soufrière had erupted.”
Bradford recalls that people in the community were nervous but admits that the severity of the event was not fully grasped because the effects could not yet be seen. It wasn’t until the following morning, however, that the gravity of the situation began to unfold.
“On Saturday morning everything was gray. Everything was gloomy, and there was ash everywhere. Then, the water authority had to turn off their systems to prevent clogging – so that essential service was affected.”
“Thankfully, I had already gotten some assistance from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados to prepare and secure the captive birds at the Nicholls Wildlife Complex. We needed plastic sheeting to try to secure the birds and we also needed dried foods, because getting fresh fruit would have been a challenge – and it was indeed. So, the dried nuts and fruit, and other food that we quickly received from our international partners was really useful.”
How did you cope with the situation? What were some of the short to medium-term solutions that were implemented by the Forestry Department and partners?
“The plight of the birds in the forest was of major concern, given the heavy ash fall that would have affected food availability for these species. An emergency group was formed, which comprised BirdsCaribbean, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, Flora and Fauna International (FFI), UNDP Reef to Ridge Project, Houston Zoo, IWECo Project St. Vincent and the Grenadines, SCIENCE, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Environmental Fund (SVGEF). This group provided invaluable support to on-the-ground efforts and helped to plan what would be done if food was unable to be collected from the countryside – which was really destroyed.
We considered ideas to be able to help wildlife species, especially the St. Vincent Parrots, and we came up with a plan of creating feeding stations. We made platforms and sourced daily fresh fruits for the stations. We cleaned the fruits, cut them up, and went out on mornings and evenings to replenish the platforms in some of the major parrot habitats—especially near La Soufrière, such as Cumberland, Congo Valley, and Jennings.
We prioritized the areas that were most impacted. We concentrated our efforts within the orange and yellow zones, just off the red zone area, to provide some assistance of water and food to these wildlife species.
We started in April, in the weeks following the first eruptions, and continued through the month of April, May and up to June. Once the rains began to fall in June and certain trees began fruiting, like the mango and the plum rose, we curtailed the feeding assistance because we knew that there were now available food sources for the parrots and other wildlife species.”
Tell me about the Parrot Surveys conducted in September, 2021. Did you see many birds? Did you get a sense that they are faring well?
“After the volcanic eruptions, we decided to do a rapid assessment to get a better understanding of what was happening to the parrots because we hadn’t had a census or a check for parrots since 2010—there was a long lapse. I recall one time that the team was out clearing rivers and they came across a bird that was suffering and later died, as a result of ash inhalation. So we were preparing ourselves for the worst impact on wildlife.
We completed the assessment in one week, for the first time. All five major sectors of 20 watch points were done in one week, from Tuesday 17th September to Friday 22nd September, 2021. The team of over 60 participants monitored the different sectors and also areas what we call gap watches, where we know a smaller numbers of birds exist. A very rough estimate suggests that parrot numbers are in the high hundreds, indicating the birds are resilient and many managed to survive the volcano and its aftermath. However, we note that updated methodology and analyses are needed to better assess parrot numbers.
We also noticed that many of the birds that were near the Red Zones, the La Soufrière areas, successfully moved to safer areas. That’s what we picked up. Prior to the eruption, we used to have a lot of cases of parrot predation on crops in the northern part of the island. This is something that we are still going to be looking out for as the parrots seem to be moving back into those areas. Crop predation is a concern. So, we will be looking at the food sources that are available in the forest to try to understand why the parrots are moving towards farmland areas.”
St. Vincent Parrots in flight. (Photo by the Ministry of Agriculture, St. Vincent and the Grenadines).
Group photo of Forestry staff. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
St. Vincent Parrot Watch Points for the 2021 survey.
Forestry staff using a radio to report a parrot sighting. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
Forestry Department training on how to count parrots. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
Forestry staff using a radio to communicate with other census teams. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
Bradford Latham speaks to staff during the parrot-census training, August, 2021. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
Forestry staff, Terrance Roberts, on the look out for St. Vincent Parrots. (Photo by the St. Vincent Forestry Department).
How quickly has the forest been recovering and trees flowering and fruiting again for the birds?
“The recovery is really excellent in the areas within the yellow and green zones and even the orange zones. The greatest impact on habitat is the northern section, on the slopes of La Soufrière. The foliage was really heavily damaged but now we can see that it’s coming back, there’s a lot of greenery. So, it’s recovering well. We have been getting a lot of rain, and there’s still some danger of lahars (mud slides) and flash flooding. We conducted some coastal assessments, going out on the boat and taking some photos. One of the follow-up things that we would really like to do is go back again to see how things have changed, in terms of the recovery and vegetative growth in those areas.”
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Forestry Director, Fitzgerald Providence, recently visited an area impacted from the volcanic eruptions. He shared photos of some of the vegetation now growing in the shade of the La Soufriere volcano and commented, “The process of regeneration is evident along the eastern slope of La Soufriere. What was described as destruction by some, shows evidence of how our island became a land so beautiful.” He noted, however, that the western slope was hardest hit with pyroclastic flows and that he planned to visit there soon.
What do you think can be done currently to help the situation on the ground? What are some of the things that the Forestry Department needs right now, as far as support?
“One area that we need support in is research methodology. We’ve had some general training but it would be good to be able to develop something that is specific to a particular species. To know when might be the best time to go looking and where to be looking for this species, knowing the nest type, and the behavior. For example, there’s not much known about the Whistling Warbler, an Endangered songbird endemic to St. Vincent; it will be good for us to look at doing more research on this species. Also, we have other endemic species such as the endemic tree frog and the whistling frog that may have been impacted by the eruption. The uniqueness of endemic species is important to the country, so it would be good to know how well they are doing and learn about their populations. These are the areas that we would really like assistance in, training and capacity building, to better monitor and manage these endemic species that we have. We would also like assistance for our environmental education program – learning how to prepare a blog, for example, and taking better photos in the field.”
Are you optimistic that the on-island bird population will return to pre-eruption numbers in the near future?
“The parrots are resilient. We have seen areas where numbers were few – especially areas that we recorded as gap watches – and we have recorded higher numbers in those gaps. I believe that eventually the numbers will really recover.
The methodology that we’re using to monitor the parrots needs to improve, however. It is scientific, but there are gaps that we really need to improve in order to get a better estimate of the parrot’s population size and monitor this over time.
These are areas that we are hoping to build upon in the near future, so that we may not be reporting a higher number than what it actually is on the ground. Or vice versa, that we may be reporting numbers that are lower than what is actually represented in the wild. We have a young staff and the training and capacity building is something that is really needed.”
Speaking at an outdoor field exercise in August 2021, organized by the Forestry Department to raise awareness about and provide training in parrot census activities, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labor of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Hon. Saboto Caesar, acknowledged and thanked Forestry workers and international conservation partners for their continued dedication to protecting the island’s national bird, especially in the wake of varied natural disasters in recent years that have adversely affected the birds and their habitat.
“The Amazona guildingii, the national bird of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is very dear to us. Recently, we had 32 eruptions of La Soufriere and we are all aware of the negative impact this has had on the habitat of the national bird. We also had Hurricane Tomas on October 30, 2010, that destroyed a significant percentage of the habitat of the national bird. I want to thank all the international agencies and to thank the hard working staff of the Forestry Department for the excellent work that they continue to do. I also want to encourage all the farmers and all forest users to respect the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Continued Work to Conserve St Vincent’s Forest Birds
BirdsCaribbean Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Sorenson, RSCF, and other partners, continue to monitor updates and maintain contact with key members of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Forestry Department with a view to providing continued assistance, where needed. Dr. Sorenson welcomed the reports of resilience outlined in the most recent parrot survey and will continue work with the team at the Forestry Department to ensure the St. Vincent Parrot, and other vulnerable endemics, such as the Whistling Warbler and Forest Thrush are able to be adequately monitored and supported in the wild.
Starting in May 2022, ornithologists from Florida International University will be working with the Forestry Department to establish improved standard methods of censusing St. Vincent Parrots and train the staff in these methods to enable long-term monitoring of the species. This will allow better assessment of the short and long-term impacts of natural events like volcanic eruptions and hurricanes on parrot population size and density, as well as monitor human-caused population changes from deforestation, poaching, and other threats to the parrot.
Also in May 2022, pending funding, a team of ornithologists from BirdsCaribbean and Antioch University will work with the Forestry Dept on a pilot study to establish population monitoring for the endangered Whistling Warbler, using ARUs (Autonomous Recording Units) with the goal of creating a Conservation Action Plan. The project will also provide training in monitoring land birds to Forestry staff using methodology from our new Landbird Monitoring Program, as well as build capacity for outreach and education and community engagement in bird conservation in St Vincent.
Acknowledgements: Once again, we thank the many generous members of our community who donated to help with the recovery effort for birds in St Vincent impacted by the April 2021 explosive eruptions of La Soufrière Volcano. If you would like to donate to help with our continued work with the Forestry Department and local communities, please click here and designate “St Vincent Volcano Recovery” as the specific purpose for your donation. Thank you!
*The “emergency group” that came together to assist with funding support and recovery of the St Vincent Parrot and other wildlife consisted of the following organizations: BirdsCaribbean, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, Caribaea Initiative, Houston Zoo, Grenada Dove Conservation Programme, UNDP Reef to Ridge Project, Houston Zoo, IWECo Project St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Farallon Islands Foundation. We thank our amazing local partners SCIENCE Initiative, the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Environment Fund, and the Forestry Department for your support and hard work.
Learn more about the St. Vincent Parrot here:
From the Nest – Day 25
As the Volcano Simmers, Help Is On the Way for the St. Vincent Parrot
Description of the disaster
Vincent and the Grenadines was elevated to orange due to increased volcanic activity. On 8 April 2021, the alert level increased to red, with government authorities issuing immediate evacuation orders.
The true economic toll of La Soufriere remains unclear, but Gonsalves estimates the volcano caused $150 million in infrastructure damage and $150 million in agriculture and housing losses.
The major pyroclastic flow eruption of 25 June 1997 killed at least 19 people and nearly reached the airport 5.5 km northeast of the volcano. About 8 million cubic metres of the dome avalanched in less than 20 minutes.
Kingston, Jamaica, October 9, 2021 – Hundreds of people affected by the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines six months ago are still unable to return home despite being given the all-clear to do so.
Volcanoes spew hot, dangerous gases, ash, lava, and rock that are powerfully destructive. People have died from volcanic blasts. Volcanic eruptions can result in additional threats to health, such as floods, mudslides, power outages, drinking water contamination, and wildfires.
Current activity is consistent with a period of unrest after an eruption. This can continue for weeks to months. While volcanic activity has been on a decline, there is the continued presence of near surface hot spots, daily seismic activity and persistent degassing.
Over geologic time, volcanic eruptions and related processes have directly and indirectly benefited mankind: Volcanic materials ultimately break down and weather to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth, cultivation of which has produced abundant food and fostered civilizations.
Ash ejected by the volcano acts as a good fertiliser for soils. Volcanoes attract many tourists, who enjoy the dramatic scenery that they produce. Rising magma brings valuable minerals to the surface, creating mining opportunities.
Volcanoes serve as tourist attractions, bringing in money for the local economy. Volcanic ash acts as a natural fertiliser for the soil, which is good for growing crops. Geothermal energy can be generated in places where the crust is thinner and so volcanic areas can be used to harness renewable energy.
The Pu'u'ō'ō Eruption Lasted 35 Years | U.S. Geological Survey.
La Soufrière (volcano)
|Last eruption||December 27, 2020 – April 22, 2021|
|Easiest route||From the windward (Atlantic) side|
Soufrière is an active volcano on the island of Saint Vincent. Saint Vincent is part of the country Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean Sea. La Soufrière means “Sulfur Mine” in French. This name reflects the smell of sulfur that accompanies the volcano's eruptions.
|Mount St. Helens, Washington||1980||573|
|Lassen Peak, California||1915||04|
|Mount Vesuvius, Italy||79 A.D.||3,3602|
Vincent is facing a series of eruptions from the La Soufriere volcano, which killed 1,600 people when it erupted in 1902.
In the West Indies, the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the island of Montserrat erupted explosively between July 12-14, 2003, causing collapse of portions of the volcanic dome and creating huge pyroclastic flows (fast-moving clouds of hot ash and rock) that spread 2 kilometers out over the ocean.
Positive: Lava and Ash deposited during an eruption breaks down to provide valuable nutrients for the soil... this creates very fertile soil which is good for agriculture. Negative: Deadly and devastating Lahars are made when... ash and mud from an eruption mixes with rain or melting snow making fast moving mud flows.
There are many positive effects of volcanoes including: Fertile soils, tourism, geothermal energy, creation of new land and building materials. Volcanic soils are very fertile.
A long-term beneficial effect of volcanic eruption is its important role in turning the agricultural land of the host locality a lot more fertile. The ash and other materials spewed out by the volcano over the years carry minerals that break down and ultimately increase the richness of the soil.
|Volcano||Country||Eruption Stop Date|
|Kavachi||Solomon Islands||2022 Oct 27 (continuing)|
|Kilauea||United States||2022 Oct 28 (continuing)|
|Pavlof||United States||2022 Oct 28 (continuing)|
|Rincon de la Vieja||Costa Rica||2022 Oct 28 (continuing)|
Kīlauea volcano began erupting on September 29, 2021, at approximately 3:21 p.m. HST in Halema'uma'u crater. Lava continues to erupt from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. All lava activity is confined within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
From studying geologic records, scientist have discovered that super volcanoes happen on Earth about every 50,000 years. So we're 24,000 years overdue and counting.
Pumice and volcanic ash continue to be used as lightweight aggregate in concrete, especially precast concrete blocks. Crushed and ground pumice are also used for loose-fill insulation, filter aids, poultry litter, soil conditioner, sweeping compound, insecticide carrier, and blacktop highway dressing.
Rising gradually to more than 4 km (2.5 mi) above sea level, Hawaii's Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano on our planet. Its submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km (3 mi), and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km (5 mi).
In 1815, Mount Tambora erupted on Sumbawa, an island of modern-day Indonesia. Historians regard it as the volcano eruption with the deadliest known direct impact: roughly 100,000 people died in the immediate aftermath.
Answer and Explanation: Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy is thought to be the oldest active volcano. It first erupted in the year 1500 BC and since then, it has erupted close to 200 times.
Once the capital of St. Lucia, Soufrière is best known as the home of Gros Piton and Petit Piton, the iconic pair of now-dormant volcanoes that rise from the gin-clear Caribbean — best viewed from the breezy upper balcony of Orlando's. But there's a lot more to this west coast town.
Soufriere is a picturesque rural town, located on the southwest coast of the island of St. Lucia (see figure 1). This area is remarkable for the richness and diversity of its landscapes and natural resources, including mountains, rainforest, rivers, active volcanism and coral reefs.
|2021 eruption of La Soufrière|
|Location||Saint Vincent, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13°20′N 61°11′W|
|Impact||~16,000 people evacuated|
Explosive eruptions result from the rapid expansion of pressurized gasses trapped in the rock or magma; the pressure violently breaks rocks apart and produces a plume of rock, ash, and gas. Winds carried much of the ash and gas east from Saint Vincent.
Saint Vincent has been rocked by a series of eruptions from the La Soufriere volcano, devastating the tiny eastern Caribbean island's infrastructure and prompting a sea and land evacuation of thousands of residents.
The supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park could cause an "ultra-catastrophe," warns an extinction events writer. The full eruption of the volcano last happened 640,000 years ago. An eruption today could pose an “existential risk” not just to the U.S. but the entire world.
|29,025||Mt. Pelee, Martinique||1902|
The worst recent volcanic disaster was in November 1985, when mudflows triggered by relatively small eruption of glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, Colombia, buried the town of Armero and killed more than 22,000 people.
Authorities on Hawaii's Big Island have recovered the body of a 75-year-old man who is believed to have fallen from a closed area of Hawaii Volcanoes national park, where visitors in past months have been trying to get a glimpse of a glowing lava lake from an eruption of the Kilauea volcano.
At its peak, the eruption displaced more than 13,300 people across public and private collective centres. Almost all of St. Vincent's 110,600 population was indirectly affected by ashfall, water restrictions, loss of income, and house rental shortages.
At its peak, the eruption displaced over 13,300 people who sheltered in public and private collective centres, with most of St. Vincent's 110,600 population being indirectly affected by ashfall, water restrictions, loss of income, and house rental shortages.
For starters, many people depend on volcanoes for their survival. The geothermal energy of a volcano can power technological systems for nearby communities. Soil near active volcanoes is often rich in mineral deposits and provides excellent farming opportunities.
Daka later gives birth to a healthy baby girl. She and Vin take care of her in his home (it's more or less implied that Vin is the father). Vin later holds a dinner in his home with Maggie, Oliver, Robert, Daka, and her baby.
Following a return to British rule, Saint Vincent passed through a variety of stages as a colony and Commonwealth state. After a 1979 referendum it eventually became the last of the Windward Islands to achieve independence. Today the United States and Saint Vincent have solid bilateral relations.
Experts often use bulldozers and dump trucks for this phase of cleanup. “Lightly wetting ash and then using a broom to sweep up might be useful, as sweeping dry ash can cause the ash to become airborne,” Hayes said, though there may be water rationing rules in effect.
Six independent nations in the Eastern Caribbean – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, all members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – and Barbados, retain the death penalty for murder.
In an interview, the creators mentioned that at the show's end, the only character they could promise would be alive was Vincent. (Official Lost Podcast/February 5, 2009) Indeed, the final shot of the series showed Vincent alive, lying next to the dying Jack.
A: Essentially, the movie's a true story. Eight years ago my oldest brother passed away, and he was 38. He left behind a daughter, an 11-year-old girl, and the mother was not in the picture. So my wife and I adopted her, and we moved her from Tennessee to Van Nuys, Calif., and we put her in a Catholic school. ...
Donna Mitchell as Sandy MacKenna, Vincent's wife who has Alzheimer's disease.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines consists of a chain of islands in the Eastern Caribbean. The country has a population of more than 101,000 and many are living in poverty.
Saint Vincent (Antilles)
|Native name: Yurumei or Hairouna|
|Largest settlement||Kingstown (pop. 25,418)|
|Pop. density||347.83/km2 (900.88/sq mi)|
Third World Countries 2022.
|Country||Human Development Index||2022 Population|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||0.723||103,948|
- Continue listening to a NOAA weather radio or TV for the latest information.
- Remain inside your home until officials declare it is safe to leave.
- Inspect your home: ...
- When outside, avoid volcanic ash fall. ...
- Clear roofs of ash fall. ...
- Avoid making phone calls except in serious emergencies.
The long-term development of an ecosystem in an area impacted by a lava flow may take 1,000 to 25,000 years.
Recovery is a long-term, iterative process – meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases, with each phase informing activities in subsequent phases. Recovery can take anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on the scale and duration of the disaster.
Americas. In the Caribbean countries, the death penalty exists at least de jure, except in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which abolished it in 1969 and 1987, respectively. Grenada is abolitionist in practice, and its last execution was in 1978.
In addition to lethal injection, 15 states authorized an alternative method of execution: electrocution (8 states), lethal gas (3), hanging (3), firing squad (2), and nitrogen hypoxia (1).
Countries That Have Abolished the Death Penalty Since 1976.
|DESCRIPTION||KAZAKHSTAN and SIERRA LEONE abolished the death penalty for all crimes.|