France has deployed an emergency humanitarian operation to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in order to respond to the needs expressed by the local authorities following the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, which led to the evacuation of some 20,000 people.
This humanitarian operation, coordinated by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and supported by the Ministry for the Armed Forces, was conducted from Guadeloupe and Martinique, in coordination with the zone de défense et de sécurité Antilles (Caribbean Defense and Security Zone).
The Ventôse surveillance frigate belonging to the French armed forces in the Caribbean transported civil defense experts from Martinique on April 14 to support the local authorities in reconnaissance and evaluation missions, as well as emergency assistance consisting of equipment to deal with ash fall, protective equipment supplies, and 75 tons of drinking water. This operation was carried out with the support of the local French Red Cross branch, the syndicat des hospitaliers de Martinique, the Martinique local authorities and the GBH group, through its subsidiary Carrefour.
During the frigate’s second rotation on April 22, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs donated blankets, jerrycans, tents and hygiene kits from humanitarian supplies belonging to the Crisis and Support Center in Guadeloupe in order to respond to the needs expressed by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines authorities in terms of emergency shelter. On the ground, this assistance will be allocated to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross in order to meet the essential needs of the populations affected by the eruption.
This solidarity initiative allowed “Team France” to respond in a swift and coordinated manner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, by combining the resources and means of the government (Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Armed Forces, Ministry of the Interior), the regional and local authorities of Guadeloupe and Martinique, associations and private partners. The operation benefitted from EU support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.