Government Information Service

The EOC Today
For Monday September 29, 1997
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO.


The sequence of explosive events at the Soufriere Hills Volcano continued over the weekend. Since late yesterday (Sunday) there have been three explosions from the volcano, the first of these was at 11 pm last night,the second at 6.36 am this morning and the third at 11.24 am this morning.

Pyroclastic flows travelled down the northern flanks of the volcano into the Gages Valley and material has now gone a further 200 metres beyond the Dyers Bridge in the Belham Valley.

Last night's events caused ash to go at least 10,000 feet into the air but this morning's two events only caused ash to travel up to 1000 feet. A wide area of Montserrat is covered with ash and everyone is urged to wear their dust masks.

Before all three events there were some hybrid earthquakes but not enough in each case to constitute a swarm.

During explosive eruptions, it is better to stay indoors in a sturdy building or if outdoors - a hard hat must be worn.

Everyone is being urged to leave all areas of the exclusion zone as the areas south of Nantes River are extremely dangerous.


Due to heavy ash falls over the weekend, the heliport at Geralds Park was closed this morning and helicopter flights took off from and landed at the jetty at Little Bay.


For those persons who evacuated Montserrat prior to the June 26th 1997 eruptions but since July 18th 1995, a new assistance scheme has been introduced by the British Government. The scheme will be managed from the British High Commission in Antigua where details of the scheme are available. The telephone number there is 268 460 9179.


It has been announced that persons who paid contributions to the old National Provident Fund can now claim back a further 25% of their paid contributions. Anyone wishing to avail themselves of the refund should visit the Social Security Office at Cheap End, St Peters, Montserrat and fill in a benefit claim form. Times and dates of payments will be announced subsequently.


The Family Life Services Office in Woodlands is to close. All clients are asked to pick up their records / notes from the office in Woodlands by 4 pm on Tuesday 30, September 1997. Family planning services will be continued from district clinics in the north of the island after the closure.


The Royal Montserrat Police Force has reiterated on ZJB that all areas in the exclusion zone south of Nantes River in the west and Pelican Ghaut in the east are under curfew from 6 pm to 6 am each day. Two barriers have been erected in the west at the entrance to the exclusion zone, one in Olveston close to Nantes River and one outside of Rams Emdee on the main road to the north. The barrier on the eastern side of the island is on the Gt Northern Road at Pelican Ghaut.


Montserrat is served from Antigua by ferry and a helicopter service.

The ferry "Antilles Express" a high speed catamaran that can carry 200 persons with luggage serves on six days per week (Monday to Saturday, no service on Sunday). It leaves Antigua for Montserrat each day at 4 pm with an additional sailing on Monday morning at 6.30 am (all sailings are from from Heritage Quay in St Johns). The ferry from Montserrat to Antigua leaves Little Bay Jetty at 8 am each morning.

Passengers need not book in advance but should report one hour before departure both in Antigua and Montserrat, journey time is one hour and the fare EC$150 return and EC$75 single.

The helicopter now travels twice per day, six days per week in each direction (every day except Wednesday). From Antigua to Montserrat at 7.30 am and 4.30 pm and from Montserrat to Antigua at 8 am and 5 pm. All bookings in each direction must be made at Montserrat at telephone number 664 491 6314. Passengers must note that very little baggage can be carried on the helicopter so everyone is urged to travel on the ferry if they have baggage. The fare on the helicopter is the same as the old LIAT fare between Montserrat and Antigua (EC$178 return). In Antigua passengers check in with Carib Aviation at V.C. Bird Int'l Airport and in Montserrat at the Heliport in Geralds and once again they should be there one hour in advance. Please note that the helicopter service operates a priority list and it is sometimes very difficult to book a flight. Early booking is urged.

More information tomorrow..................................

The EOC Information Unit, St Johns, Montserrat, West Indies.
Tel 664 491 7166 Fax 664 491 2474 E Mail:
Richard Aspin, Information Co-ordinator.

Government Information Service