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Helping St. Vincent’s naval community – volcano eruption relief effort

RNBT, and the other naval charities who work together at Castaway House in Portsmouth, have been supporting the Royal Naval Association’s (RNA) plan to support those of the naval community caught up in the eruption of La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent which started on 9 April and remains ongoing.

The Director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, Professor Richard Robertson, believes the series of eruptions from St. Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano is the worst in over a century.  He said the volcanic activity at present was “bigger” than the 1979 eruption and was more on a scale with the eruption which occurred in 1902.

‘This period could vary from a few weeks to a few months to as long as up to a year given past experience.’[1]

Answering the call to assist, Castaway House in North Portsmouth has been established as a hub for collecting essential supplies that will be shipped out to St Vincent to help people caught up in the disaster to recover and to stay safe.  These essentials include, dry/tinned goods, towels, blankets/sheets, sleeping bags, pillows, First Aid kits, facemasks/face shields, pain killers – children/adults, cough syrup, baby formula, nappies, wipes, toiletries, clothing – in particular children’s clothing, torches, batteries, cutlery, plates, bowls, bin liners/bins, board games/books/toys.

One of the trustees of RNBT is Leading Steward Shamiann Alexander, who lives in Gosport but comes from St Vincent, and has family living on the island.  She said:

‘My family is currently in the green zone, which currently provides little comfort, however it breaks my heart to see what is happening.  I just wanted to help in any way I can, as a percentage of serving Royal Navy and retired naval personnel are from St Vincent.’

Chief Executive Commander Rob Bosshardt also has family links with the island of St Vincent.  His wife Angie was born there, and she has a sister and other family living on the island.  He said:

‘We are keeping close contact with family on the island, who are fortunately safe at the moment.  My wife’s great grandparents were both killed in the huge eruption of 1902, and so we are fully aware of the risks to life as well as the massive impact that such an event has on the community.  I am delighted that RNBT and the other naval charities are joining forces with the RNA to get essential supplies to the naval community on the island to help them in the most practical ways in their time of need.  Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone on the island.’

[1] https://news784.com/2021/04/13/scientist-says-la-soufriere-eruptions-could-continue-for-up-to-a-year/

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