To: Pastors and Leading Elders, Church Boards/ Council Members
From: Jacob A. Mclean, Chairman, MCAJ
Date: April 13, 2021
RE: Urgent Plea for Assistance for St. Vincent and The Grenadines
Greetings in the precious and mighty name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I am sure that by now you are all aware of the disaster that is currently occurring in our sister islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Like you, I deeply distressed for all the inhabitants but especially for our sisters and brothers in the faith. As members of the Body of Christ, we hurt when fellow members hurt. As Paul states in I Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
The Observer update of today’s date is graphic in its description of the situation facing the islands:
“La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of ash and hot gas early yesterday in the biggest explosive eruption yet since volcanic activity began on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent late last week, with officials worried about the lives of those who have refused to evacuate. Experts called it a “huge explosion” that generated pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and south-west flanks.
“It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of The University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Centre, told The Associated Press. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”
There were no immediate reports of injuries or death, but Government officials were scrambling to respond to the latest eruption, which was even bigger than the first eruption that occurred last Friday morning. Roughly, 16,000 people who live in communities close to the volcano had been evacuated under Government orders on Thursday, but an unknown number have remained behind and refused to move.
Richard Robertson, with the Seismic Research Centre, told local station NBC Radio that the volcano’s old and new dome have been destroyed and that a new crater has been created. He said that the pyroclastic flows would have razed everything in their way.
“Anything that was there — man, animal, anything — they are gone,” he said. “And it’s a terrible thing to say it.”
Joseph said the latest explosion is equivalent to the one that occurred in 1902 and killed some 1,600. The volcano last erupted in 1979. Ash from the ongoing explosions has fallen on Barbados and other nearby islands.”
I am requesting that all churches reach out to members, both local and overseas, and request donations towards the MCAJ St. Vincent Relief Fund. Churches are being asked to endeavour to collect funds by this weekend so that early next week arrangements can be made with our partners in St Vincent to get urgent relief to them. We understand that the most urgent need is for water. Our initial thrust then is to get funds to arrange for purchasing of water in Trinidad and having it transported to St. Vincent. Following this, we will coordinate the purchase of other relief items and arrange similarly for delivery.
Since we will need to convert Jamaican dollars to hard currencies (US or Canadian dollars, British Pounds or Euros), where possible donations in these currencies would be highly desirable.
Funds should be remitted to the MCAJ BNS Account # 328715 and designated: MCAJ St. Vincent Relief Fund.
Sisters and Brothers, let us rise to the occasion in love and generosity. God bless you all and do continue to be safe!