UN urges global support for volcano-erupting St. Vincent


UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Wednesday expressing solidarity and support for St. Vincent and urging continued financial help for the eastern Caribbean island as it deals with volcanic eruptions.

The resolution, adopted by consensus in the 193-member world body, also asks U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to support rehabilitation efforts in St. Vincent and neighboring countries affected by the volcano.

Last week, the U.N. announced it is seeking $29.2 million to help St. Vincent recover from the eruptions that have destroyed homes and crops, contaminated water supplies and displaced up to 20% of its people.

More than 16,000 people were evacuated ahead of the first explosion at La Soufriere volcano on April 9. Officials say ash is piled up to 16 inches (42 centimeters) high on some homes in the northern part of St. Vincent, where the volcano sits. More than 6,200 evacuees are staying in 88 government shelters and thousands of others in homes or private shelters.

The resolution expressed deep concern about “the serious consequences of the explosive eruptions” that have resulted in displacements and loss of livelihoods, food supplies, health services, and “access to social infrastructure.” It also expressed concern about the effects on basic infrastructure and on the economies of neighboring countries.

The assembly stressed “the urgent need to restore normal conditions for the population.”

It asked the international community “to increase support” for St. Vincent and other affected countries and encouraged international financial institutions and organizations “to continue to contribute and to respond generously for the duration of the emergency and of the rehabilitation process.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after the resolution’s adoption that “we must act now – and together – to meet the U.N.’s $29.2 million fundraising goal and bring relief to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”

She said an initial $250,000 in U.S aid “is just a start in what will be a long-term response,” and represents the Biden administration’s “firm commitment to humanitarian action.”

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