by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) once again collaborated with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center to execute several outreach activities during the month of April, as part of the Department’s multi-hazards awareness campaign
The campaign in April focused on Volcanoes, following the campaigns on earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis in January, February and March, respectively.
Minister responsible for Disaster Management on the island of Nevis, Hon. Spencer Brand, presented an address which focused on Volcanoes and explained the critical situation that is expected if Nevis Peak erupts.
“Critical to us here, our central peak, known as Nevis Peak, sits 3,232 feet above mean sea level. The geological study conducted by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center also contained a volcanic hazard risk map for the island. This risk map clearly shows that there are no safe areas on the island in the unlikely event of an eruption of our Nevis Peak volcano. Therefore, a mass evacuation of the island shall become necessary in the event of such an occurrence.”
Also lending her voice to the awareness campaign for the month of April was Miss Thalia Thomas, Research Assistant at the Seismic Research Center in Trinidad. Thomas met with the students, officials at the Ministry of Education, Faith-Based Organisations and local media groups when she visited Nevis in April. She was also a guest on the “Youth On The Go” Programme on the last Saturday in April.
“You can’t get over the volcano because it’s just a lovely mountain that you can see from everywhere on Nevis, but no one knows the activity that is going on; so, we monitor the volcano in terms of the warm springs, the thermal areas, whether it’s the hot water and you see the bubbles coming up, so that’s how we know that the volcano is still alive.”
“What happens is when the volcano is waking up, when there are signs of activity, you start to feel a lot of small earthquakes on the island. So, whenever it decides that it’s going to start erupting, you’re going to start feeling the earthquakes. Everyone will be calling us in Trinidad and saying, we’re feeling earthquakes, and we are going to see them on our instruments down here as well. It actually comes up on our computer screens whenever there is an earthquake any part or anywhere in the Caribbean because we have instruments that detect the earthquakes. We have some on Nevis. We have some on St. Kitts. We have some in Antigua. So that will tell us that she is waking as well. And then we will send some scientists across to see what’s going on. They will take some temperatures of the water, the chemistry of the water, and then we’re going to advise the NDMD as to what to do.”
Volcanoes can be extremely destructive, spilling hot, dangerous gases, lava, rocks, ash and pyroclastic flow. Additionally, volcanoes can cause socio-economic disruptions and may also contribute to the occurrence of other natural hazards and health issues.
The NDMD’s multi-hazards campaign seeks to enhance the island’s resilience to natural