St. Vincent has seen a reduction in activity from La Soufriere, the volcano on the north end of the island. Violent eruptions have slowed significantly, and associated earthquakes have become far less frequent. As a result, NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) has reduced the alert level from red to orange. The crisis, however, has not ended as the disaster moves into a post-eruption stage. Massive amounts of volcanic ash cover the island, particularly in the north. Recent heavy rains combined with accumulated ash have created flooding and mud slides.
As the natural disaster evolves, the humanitarian crisis continues. Thousands of residents are being housed in temporary shelters, many of which are in church halls. The Anglican Church in St. Vincent continues to show leadership and compassion as parish communities care for their neighbours from the north. There is continued need for food and supplies, along with basic practical equipment for the shelters. One very significant need is water.
We in the Diocese of Calgary can certainly come to the aid of our Companion Dioceses’ brothers and sisters on St. Vincent. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is accepting donations to help those displaced by the volcanic eruption. Individuals, families, and parishes can contribute to the relief effort by visiting the PWRDF website.
Several people from the Diocese of Calgary have visited St. Vincent over the years and have had the opportunity to connect with people and make friends. One of those friends is a young man name Limiske Berkley. Limiske lives in Barrouille, St. Patrick Parish, on the west side of the island. Although only 18 years old, Liimiske is a community leader who regularly gives motivational talks to youth in schools and other community venues. Currently, Limiske is active as a volunteer in emergency shelters. I was able to connect him with The Rev. Howard Thornton of St. Michael’s, Canmore who interviewed him and produced a short video to help introduce more of us to the people of St. Vincent and the challenges that they are facing.
The video can be watched here.