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UN releases $1 mn in emergency funding for Saint Vincent

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This picture taken on April 14, 2021, from the the Floreal class French frigate Ventose shows the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as the frigate brings aid parcels. – The threat of a volcanic eruption has triggered evacuation orders on april 9, 2021, on the eastern Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and the deployment of several cruise ships to house thousands forced to leave their homes. (Photo by Fanny MARSOT / AFP)

The United Nations on Thursday released $1 million from its emergency fund to provide aid to the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following a series of devastating volcanic eruptions, the body’s spokesman said.

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The funds will provide for “urgent humanitarian assistance to impacted people, especially those who have been evacuated,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

UN agencies will be able to distribute drinking water and hygiene kits, as well as money for the most vulnerable to buy food, he said.

About 20,000 people were evacuated from the vicinity of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent, which began erupting last Friday for the first time since 1979.

Some 4,500 people are in shelters and the country’s airspace is closed.

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“Most homes in Saint Vincent are without water and most of the country’s 110,000 people have been impacted by ash fall,” Dujarric said.

Eruptions have continued to occur daily, with ash clouds covering the country and reaching surrounding islands.

The UN said Wednesday that depending on winds, the volcanic eruptions could cause an environmental and economic impact on Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the smallest state to ever sit on the UN Security Council, where its two-year term as a non-permanent member ends in December.

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