Relief items from Guyana to arrive in St. Vincent on Saturday

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Four days after 250 tonnes of disaster relief supplies were packed into the ‘Lady Fazeela’ vessel and departed Guyana’s waters, it will arrive on the volcano-ravaged island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday.

Guyana’s Consul General in St. Vincent, Nigel Russell, said the vessel first stopped in Barbados to deliver water and water tanks and is slated to set sail from Barbados sometime Friday afternoon.

Carrying among its cargo of relief supplies for the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the ship will also deliver personal care packages for Guyanese on the island, sent by relatives in Guyana.

Russel, in providing an update on the situation on Friday, told the media that his office is responsible for collecting those personal barrels and boxes and ensuring it gets to the intended persons.

His office is also working along with the Guyanese Association in St Vincent, headed by Gwenette Cambridge, to ensure that the items which were sent for the Consulate are distributed across to the most vulnerable persons across the island.

Some of the damage caused by the volcano (Photo: NBC Radio St Vincent)

“My role is very simple. I do the coordination. Things that come to my office, we document and then give to the Guyana Association… we supply based on what is available and the Guyanese Association does the distribution,” Russel told the virtual session, organized by Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Russell said persons have been requesting from his office items such as mattresses and water tanks but those items have been sent directly to the Government of St. Vincent to support persons in public shelters.

The relief support for St. Vincent from Guyana is coordinated by the Civil Defence Commission at the behest of President Irfaan Ali with a major shipment of 350 tonnes of items arriving there last Saturday.

The Consul General was joined on the zoom call by Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, and Head of the Diaspora Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Rosalinda Rasul.

The Foreign Secretary said Guyana’s support for St. Vincent and Guyanese on the island will be continuous with another shipment being prepared.

President Irfaan Ali and other officials inspect the shipload of relief items (Photo: Office of the President/April 19, 2021)

The island, which has experienced several eruptions at the La Soufrière volcano in the last two weeks, is still dealing with the effects of fallen ash. The latest eruption occurred on Thursday.

The La Soufriere Volcano remains active; it began to explosively erupt two Fridays ago, displacing approximately 20,000 persons with some 6,000 currently in public shelters and thousands more in private facilities.

The entire island remains covered in ash as its inhabitants cope with limited potable water; it is the beginning of significant economic and social setback even as the environmental impact has also affected neighbouring islands, including St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and Grenada.

Backed by the United Nations (UN), the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, led by Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, recently launched a global appeal to not only help its own recovery but those neighbouring Caribbean Islands affected by the periodic eruptions.

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