THE VOLCANIC EXPLANATION:
There have been three more explosions from the Soufriere Hills Volcano, one at 11.16 pm last night one at 5.47 am this morning and one at 8.35 am this morning.
The ash columns from these explosions and subsequent pyroclastic flows went to heights of between 10,000 and 20,000 feet. Strong winds blew the ash towards the north east and away from Montserrat.
The pyroclastic flows were reported to have gone down the Gages Valley as far as Lover's Lane, Tyers Ghaut and Tuitt's Ghaut but scientists warn that they could travel in any direction and all areas in the exclusion zone are at risk.
The seismicity has been low although there were several hybrid earthquake prior to to the explosions and periods of tremor related to ash and steam venting for at least an hour after each of the explosions.
ASH MONITORING IMPROVED:
The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) has improved its ash monitoring capabilities. The MVO has installed dust trackers at 4 locations, Olveston, Woodlands, St Peters and Mongo Hill and when further equipment arrives on island they will initiate three other sites. The trackers give a reading of the amount of dust in the atmosphere and this information will be included in future scientific updates.
SHORTAGE OF WORKERS IN MONTSERRAT:
The Minister of Communications & Works, Hon. Rupert Weekes said on ZJB radio yesterday that there is a shortage of construction workers in Montserrat. He reported that he had recently visited Antigua and found an interest amongst Montserratian workers based there in returning to help rebuild the island.
It is envisaged that when the Brown & Roots Housing Scheme phase 2 starts at Look-Out workers will have to be shipped in on a daily basis by the ferry and then return to Antigua each evening. Mr Weekes reported that Government is looking at the timings of the ferry to make this a possibility.
Phase 2 of the housing scheme calls for the construction of 200 + concrete houses at Look-Out with the first units ready by year end.
WILDLIFE TO BE PROTECTED:
Two British specialists left Montserrat yesterday after volunteering several days of their expertise looking at the protection of wildlife on island during the volcanic eruption. A representative of the Jersey Wildlife Trust and one from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds spent 5 days on island looking at the plight of wildlife and the Montserrat Oriole, the national bird of Montserrat. They met with Ministry of Agriculture and Montserrat National Trust officials, their report is expected shortly.
EFFORTS BEING MADE TO REMOVE BLOCK MAKING PLANT:
With the help of scientific advice, representatives of M.S. Osborne Ltd. are attempting to remove the concrete block making plant currently situated in the exclusion zone. This is in an effort to alleviate the current shortage of building blocks on island and the high cost of importing blocks from overseas.
The plant is situated in Upper Dagenham which is very close to past pyroclastic flows, volunteer workers are being allowed in for very short periods of time in conjunction with scientific reports in between explosive eruptions.
The Royal Montserrat Police Force's Immigration Dept has reported that from June 28th 1997 to the present time there has been a net total loss of 2299 residents from Montserrat.
Of these 1457 have left island under the phased voluntary relocation scheme, so far 3800 persons have registered under the scheme.
NEW OFFICES FOR M.A.S.:
The Montserrat Aviation Services (MAS) have relocated to a new office in St Peter's (the building formerly hosting Daniel's Pharmacy). Their telephone number is 664 491 2533. MAS are the local agents for the ferry service to/from Antigua and are also responsible for booking the helicopter flights between the two islands.
TEACHERS MEET THIS AFTERNOON:
Primary and Nursery School teachers are meeting this afternoon with Ministry of Education officials as they plan the re-opening of primary and nursery schools on island. Some new wooden classrooms are being constructed by the RMDF at a site close to the Brades School (currently used as a shelter) the buildings will be ready to use as a school by month end.
More information tomorrow..................................
Government Information Service