La Soufrière volcano is located on the largest island of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chain, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said.
“Explosive eruption at La Soufrière,” NEMO tweeted. “Ash plumes up to 20,000 feet headed East,” it added.
“Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufrière has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport,” it said.
The island was placed on red alert, meaning an eruption was “imminent now,” NEMO said.
Evacuation orders were put into place in about a dozen districts of St. Vincent, affecting roughly 6,000 to 7,000 people, a spokesperson for the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, or UWI-SRC, told CNN.