Tuesday 13 April 2021

Supplies being readied yesterday for today's Mercy Flight to St Vincent

Toronto group collecting supplies and shipping donations to St Vincent for Volcano Relief. 

By Stephen Weir If the weather is good and the La Soufriere Volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent doesn’t let off any more flight stopping ash today, a shipment of relief supplies donated by Torontonians, will wing its way to St. Vincent and the Grenadines via St Lucia.
Volunteers worked through the weekend(pictured above) collecting and packing supplies for the battered country as the volcano continues to spew ash and rocks on the main island and nearby Barbados. 

 “We have 20 people here right now at the KLC warehouse (a Scarborough forwarding company owned by Ken Chitolie),” said Cordell Telfer, “It is difficult because of Covid. People aren’t allowed into the warehouse, so, our volunteers, suitably protected, meet people out front and bring their donations inside to be wrapped and packed for the flight.” 

 “Because the airport in Kingston (SV) is closed, what we are doing today will be off-loaded in St. Lucia and forwarded from there dependent upon the conditions (in the air and on the sea).” Mr. Telfer and most of the volunteers are with CARI-ON a Toronto based disaster preparedness organization working with the St Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General. The KLC warehouse has donated part of its facility gratis to CARI-CON for storage of donated relief items. 

 “ We are coordinating the Canadian response,” he continued. “ Because CARI-CON doesn’t have a building as such, we are now working with Pastor Rudy Clarke at the Pine Valley and Steeles Faith Ministry Church. We will be accepting donations at the Church to take pressure off the KLC warehouse. We are already getting ready for next week's shipment. Unfortunately we don’t see an end in sight.” 

 The call has already gone out for a list of much needed materials including: cots, blankets, tents, non-perishable foods and clothing (a full list appears at the end of this news story). “We also need water, (the eruption has covered the island in ash and disrupted the water system) Covid masks, hand sanitizers and boxes so that we can pack this stuff up for shipping,” he continued. “We also need the little things, toys for the children, cards and dominoes and games. A lot of people left their homes with nothing and are just waiting it out with nothing to do but worry.”

According to volcano watch reports, La Soufriere continues to be active. The volcano erupted again on Monday April 12th emitting hot gas, ash and stone down on homes, farmlands and forests. Earlier today, April 13th, a smaller eruption took place. 

Over 16,000 people have been displaced. Residents in the immediate area of the volcano have been evacuated to government shelters. As the volcano continues to be active an off-island evacuation plan is in place using two volunteer cruise ships. People have already been taken to nearby Barbados even though that island is also feeling the impact of La Soufriere’s volcano. 

“The ash cloud produced by the eruption on Monday was blown in the direction of Barbados and seemingly turned day into night as ash fell from the sky like snow across the island,” reports the AccuWeather world weather news service. The Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados was closed and was expected to remain shut down until noon on Wednesday as a result of the ash-fall.” 

 There is no end in sight to La Soufriere’s eruptions; already many countries in the region are planning to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss this ongoing disaster and its impact on tourism. 

According to journalist William Doyle Marshall, the Caribbean Tourism Organization has added the volcanic eruption issue to its agenda for disaster discussion with American disaster expert Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Russel Honore on Wednesday morning. The original agenda was to look at how should Caribbean tourism, and the region-at-large apply the lessons from COVID-19 to the upcoming hurricane season,” but now it is all eyes on the exploding mountain!

CARI-CON is accepting E-Transfer donations at carionsvgvolcanorelief@gmail.com and a GoFundMe at http://bit/ly/SVGVolcanoFundraiser
The group can be reached at 416-889-3293 and carion.org@gmail.com.


Over 16,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes in the Red Zone to the safer Green Zone to shelters, personal homes and hotels. The need for assistance is tremendous as the country battles with excessive amounts of ash-fall, water shortages, and electricity outages. The Pine Valley and Steeles Faith Ministry Church at 4370 Steeles Avenue W. (Pine Valley and Steeles) is helping to collect and forward donations. 

 Meanwhile The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has released a list of the following items and KLC Shippers in Toronto has agreed to offer free storage and shipment of these relief supplies from Canada to St. Vincent: 

 · Folding cots 
 · Blankets 
 · Tents (10x10ft or 20x20ft) 
 · Sleeping mats 
 · Respirator mask with filters 
 · Goggles 
 · Reflective vests 
 · Caution tape 
 · Hygiene kits 
 · Non-perishable food items 
 · Clothing (NEW) 
 · 5-gallon buckets