The eruption of La Soufriere, following decades of inactivity, threw massive clouds of ash into the air and thousands of people had to be evacuated.
Large parts of St Vincent Island were covered by a thick layer of ash on Saturday, April 10, after the only active volcano on the Caribbean island erupted. A huge cloud of dust was seen moving east, disturbing residents of the neighboring Barbados Island.
On Thursday, April 8, the Caribbean island went into red alert with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordering an evacuation of the northern districts, which have a population of ~100,000.
Carnival sent 2 ships, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend, on Friday, April 9. Royal Caribbean also sent 2 ships, Celebrity Reflection and Serenade of the Seas. They arrived on Friday evening, with each ship expected to take onboard up to 1500 people who will be transported to neighboring islands.
On Friday, Saint Vincent's NEMO (National Emergency Management Organisation) tweeted the volcano had "moved into an explosive stage" and erupted.
La Soufriere is the only active volcano and the highest peak on St. Vincent island at 1234 m (4049 ft) tall. It had previously erupted 5 times since 1718, with one eruption in May 1902 killing 1680 people.