Toronto-based relief agency sends aid to displaced families in St. Vincent after volcano eruption
'We're in this for the long haul,' says consul general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto
A group of Torontonians rallied together on Saturday to help those affected by a volcano that erupted on Friday on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
After decades of inactivity, La Soufrière volcano erupted, forcing thousands of people from surrounding villages to evacuate.
GlobalMedic, a Canadian charity and disaster response agency, organized a local relief effort to help displaced families in St. Vincent.
Fitzgerald Huggins, the consul general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto, thanked the group for their "tremendous donations."
"This donation is going to go a long way in assisting in the relief efforts to make sure our people have that comfort that they're accustomed to."
Huggins says he has survived three eruptions himself, and knows that the 16,000 people who have been displaced from their homes will need food and proper housing.
"We're in this for the long haul; it's not going to end overnight."
Watch: Consul general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto appeals for aid for displaced families
The volcano sat dormant since 1979, until December, when it began showing signs of activity.
Those signs picked up this week, which prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area on Thursday.
Early on Friday, the volcano erupted, plunging the neighbouring area into near total darkness from ash and smoke.
Rahul Singh, the executive director of GlobalMedic, says it will be difficult to get aid to people in need because most planes can't fly into a volcanic area.
The group is sending down sea containers full of aid instead, equipped with emergency kits to help displaced families.
The kits include dried food, such as rice, lentils, and pasta.
"This is just the start of this crisis and we're hoping to reach as many people as we can," says Singh.