On Friday, 108 U.S. citizens were among the 159 passengers who departed Kingstown Port for Dutch Sint Maarten on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Celebrity Reflection. Passengers arrived early to Kingstown Port on Friday morning for boarding and departed in the afternoon bound for Philipsburg, Sint Maarten for onward travel.
The U.S. Embassy coordinated with Royal Caribbean for the departure of American citizens stranded in St. Vincent following airport closures due to the ongoing eruptions of La Soufrière. There was no cost or travel fare to the passengers for the ship’s voyage.
A statement from Miami-headquartered Royal Caribbean read in part, “Our humanitarian relief efforts in St. Vincent continue. Much-needed water deliveries were made by Serenade of the Seas yesterday and more relief supplies are on the way. We stand ready to provide any additional assistance.”
The U.S. government is likewise mobilizing much needed relief to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded US$140,000 in immediate assistance to emergency evacuation centres, evacuation transportation to residents in the Red Zones, and the distribution of emergency food and relief supplies including hygiene kits, fuel, mattresses, and portable stoves. Additionally, USAID is supporting the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) work with the St. Vincent National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and upgrades to its emergency operation centers. NEMO is led by Director Michelle Forbes, to whom the U.S. Embassy awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008. She completed her Masters in Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management at Georgia State University.