A dormant volcano in the southern Caribbean started spewing clouds of smoke and ash on Friday morning, forcing around 20,000 people to be evacuated, the New York Times (NYT) reported.

The La Soufriere volcano, located on the island of St. Vincent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), has been dormant since 1979 and initially started showing signs of new activity in December 2020, the NYT reported.

“La Soufriere has moved into an explosive state. Plumes up to eight kilometers,” the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) for SVG tweeted. “Ash fall expected within five minutes.”

La Soufriere has moved into an explosive state. Plumes up to eight kilometers. Ash fall expected within five minutes#svgeruption2021#

— NEMO SVG (@NEMOSVG) April 9, 2021

“Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport,” NEMO SVG wrote on Twitter.

Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport.#lasoufriereeruption #

— NEMO SVG (@NEMOSVG) April 9, 2021

St. Vincent announced an evacuation order on Thursday for residents after experiencing several days of seismic activity, The Hill reported. (RELATED: Incredible Viral Video Shows A Majestic Volcano Explosion In Iceland)

“All arrangements have now kick-started and the process begins,” Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves announced at a press conference, the NYT reported.

Two cruise ships from Royal Caribbean and two from Carnival Cruise Line are reportedly expected to arrive at the island to transport people to nearby shelters and islands in order to assist in the evacuation efforts, according to The Guardian.

A third Royal Caribbean cruise ship is reportedly set to arrive in the upcoming days, according to The Guardian.

We are on the way to St. Vincent to evacuate residents at risk from a potential eruption of the island’s La Soufriere volcano.

We are working closely with local authorities and will provide updates as evacuation efforts continue. For more info: https://t.co/3esCmE54zs

— Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) April 9, 2021

Gonsalves explained that people seeking to board cruise ships for

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