La Soufrière – It’s Karma Komrade

Submitted by Nathan’ Jolly’ Green

Where the blue of the night meets the gold of the day, that was Saint Vincent hooray.

But not anymore, the nights are dark and black, the days miserable and quiet. The change in Saint Vincent is not just about darkness and light; it is much more than that. There is a gloom and doom quietness over the island, brought about by what some may believe is Karma.

The Coronavirus is spiralling out of control due to lack of proper procedure and lack of enforcement and leadership. It turns out the advice given in earlier days about containing the virus, good scientific advice from the opposition leader Godwin Friday and his party vice president Major Leacock. But due to a know-all attitude from el comrade, we have been led into a state of false confidence.

Election parties and gatherings with no distancing, no masks, and no sense, were allowed to take place. People flew in from around the world in an attempt to pack the voting booths; those voters permitted to go and vote from quarantine when they should have been locked down. Nine mornings was allowed to proceed, people hugging, dancing, and all the frivolities and closeness. People have been encouraged to go maskless by a standard set, by government ministers often going maskless.

La Soufrière Volcano, the 1922 aftermath at Wallibou, St. Vincent. [Walilabou]

In December 2020, the Soufrière Volcano which all but idiots knew was only sleeping and perhaps overdue to awake, bad-tempered and violent, had begun to awake.La Soufrière Volcano, the 1922 aftermath at Wallibou, St. Vincent. [Walilabou]

The dome that broke through the crater floor, on December 27, 2020, on the south-west-perimeter of the existing dome, continues to grow within the crater of La Soufrière and has an ellipsoid shape with growth expanding in a westerly direction.

When it erupted in 1922 over a thousand six hundred people died. Workers on the Barnards Estate at Orange Hill, workers were poisoned by volcanic gas and died.

In the 1979 eruption thick ash fell all over the island, all over all the other islands, including Barbados seventy miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Aircraft could not fly then, and they will not be able to fly again if the volcano erupts.

The knowing everything man’s attitude towards the volcano dangers have been to ignore and pretended that they do not exist. Despite La Soufrière being one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Antilles and has a long history of eruptions with the historical records showing eruptions in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902-1903, 1971-72 and 1979. Loss of life was recorded in the 1812 and 1902-03 eruptions when 56 persons died in 1812 and over 1500 in 1902-03.

Historical Eruptions

During the past 4000 years, the volcano has had an average of one massive explosive eruption every 100 years, with smaller ones in between.

The Soufrière volcano has displayed two distinct types of eruptions in the past.

Ref: Aspinall, Sigurdsson, and Shepherd 1973.

Explosive eruptions: These are the typical “Soufrière” eruptions. They are highly explosive magmatic eruptions usually preceded by frequent, strong earthquakes. Rapid production rates result in the ejection of large volumes of new material in ashfalls from eruption columns and as pyroclastic flows and surges. This type of activity is exemplified by the 1902-03 and 1979 eruptions.

Nonexplosive or Effusive eruptions: This type of eruption is effusive, unaccompanied by earthquakes, and involves smaller volumes of new material than type 1. This type of eruption is exemplified by the 1971-72 eruption. A cyclical pattern of eruptive activity during the past 250 years with alternate explosive and effusive eruptions has been suggested for the volcano. Ref: Aspinall et al. 1972.

Future Eruptions

Short-term eruptive activity:

In the short-term (i.e., <100 years), the volcanic hazard at the volcano is expected to be quite like that experienced in the historic past. The volcano would become hazardous during periods of eruptive activity, remaining for the intervening periods a threat that must be catered for in national development plans. Activity in the short term could be either explosive or effusive or both. Both events may be separated in time but can be regarded as part of a two-phase pattern of eruption. The scale of the explosive phase is expected to range from that of a 1979-type event to that of a 1902-type event. The effusive phase is expected to be quite similar to the 1971-72 eruption. The specific characteristics of these phases, as well as the hazards they are expected to pose are outlined below.

Long-term or worst case scenario:

In the longer term, allowances must be made for the possibility of cataclysmic Plinian to Ultraplinian activity fluctuating with Strombolian type eruptions. Although there are no historic records of such activity, the presence of thick late Pleistocene ashfall deposits throughout St Vincent as well as thick coriaceous ashfall on the lower flanks of the volcano demonstrates that the Soufrière has the capacity for events of this kind.

We should all be aware that we are in a period of climate warming.

Climate Change Is Likely to Increase Volcanic Eruptions, Scientists Say: The Two-Way A recent study in the journal Geology says glacial ice has an impact on the behaviour of magma below the Earth’s surface. It finds a correlation between a warmer climate and more volcanic activity. What does that mean, well it means that times between eruptions will become much, much shorter?

All of that aside, el camarada obeso was warned about building in the vicinity of the Soufrière volcano. But being unable to take advice of any kind decided his political beliefs and ambitions should override the advice despite it being based on science and being more than credible.

A new ultra-modern medical and diagnostic centre was built at Georgetown in an area where volcanic debris the size of micro-wave ovens had rained down during the 1979 eruption.

The medical contract the Cubans were given was a three-year project which took them nine years to complete. The Komrade having built the facility in a very silly, even in a very stupid place, within striking distance of the volcano, we now have to consider how to rescue the staff and patients if the volcano gets to a near critical stage. Sea rescue is impossible due to rocks and it being Atlantic leeward coast, huge sea’s, and no dock. The road out of the red zone is in places flat and may be subject to sea surge flooding, in other places mountainous curving narrow road, with potholes of course, they are part of the Komrades university degree in stupidity via pothole excellence.

But with so many people to rescue, many old, infirm, or ill. What do we do with them? Also, what do we do with more than 400 prisoners at Belle Isle prison? Where do we put them, how do we care for them?

Then the airport, built by the Cubans, it was a three-to-five-year project which took the Cubans nine years to build. During that four or five year overrun the Cubans were paid somewhere approaching $400,000 a month, with no penalties for being late. It was best described as an act of comradeship and solidarity. Once again built against advice of many citizens and others, where aircraft will not be able to operate if there is an eruption.

I have never forgotten driving home one day, listening to SVG’s many times sued by the Komrade, premier radio station BDS Nice. I was listening to business being conducted in Parliament. I was shocked and dismayed when I heard him utter one of the most foolish things he ever said, and there have been a few. He said, “if I work Obeah, I only work Obeah for the Lord”. In most Christian societies that would have sounded the death nell for his political career. But not in Saint Vincent, there would have been people in bars and at home listening who would have drowned the neighbourhood in clapping and cheering. The Church leaders said nothing, the Church Council said nothing.

I was told by a doctor tonight that the majority of those infected with the COVID 19 virus are ULP people, I have no way of knowing if that is true.

What is happening in Saint Vincent may be Karma, well deserved and reserved for the “I like nasty, not nice” among us. But whatever the truth, let’s all hope that people see sense and self-isolate, please people lets all try and be sensible.

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