Montserrat Today

For Thursday November 06, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


Following Tuesdays partial collapse of the dome into the White River Valley there was a lull in activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano. However, from early yesterday hybrid earthquake swarms started back up again. This seismic activity remained at a rapid level overnight and the earthquake signals were dominated by high amplitude tremor on all the seismic stations.

This high level of seismicity means that there is a high possibility of more pyroclastic flows and also explosions which could impact wide areas.

Rockfalls have continued during the last 24 hours many of these went into the Galways area, in addition a new rockfall channel is developing on the upper part of the Farrell's Plain which could allow pyroclastic flow material into the Belham River Valley.

There was very little ash or steam venting over the past 24 hours and the small amount of ash which was produced was blown to the west over Plymouth.

The volcano remains at a very dangerous state and anyone still in the exclusion zone should leave immediately as these areas are extremely hazardous.


The recent head count in Montserrat has shown the following:

Exclusion zone 134 persons
Central zone 619 persons
Northern zone 3331 persons
Total count 4084 persons

The Governor and Chief Minister have requested in a radio broadcast that all persons leave the exclusion zone by 6 pm tonight (Thursday) after which there will be no admittance to the zone what-so-ever.


The 50 houses built at Davy Hill by Brown & Roots are completed and currently the sewerage system is being installed.

Closing date for applications for the houses which will be rented (with an option to buy at a later date) was yesterday, Wednesday November 5th.

Minister with responsibility for housing, the Hon Austin Bramble said on radio yesterday that the houses are designed for 3 or 4 person families as each unit has two bedrooms.


An open forum was held yesterday at Mc Chesney's Estate to present and discuss the 5 year sustainable development plan for Montserrat. The session was chaired by Franklyn Greenaway and the session was led by Ms Jane Arnott a consultant physical planner from Britain currently on island to help develop the plan.

A wide selection of interested individuals, NGO's, government departments, and the private sector attended the meeting. It was decided that forums will be held with an as wide as possible variety of groups of Montserratians at home and abroad to discuss the plan.


The construction of the wooden classroom buildings by the Royal Montserrat Defence Force at the Brades playing Fields site are at an advanced stage. The buildings will be used to house a government primary school.

The Ministry of Education will announce shortly when the school will be ready to open, so far it has not been possible to open any government primary school as all buildings are being used as shelters.

However, the Montserrat Secondary School is in full operation using a variety of buildings at three sites. It is hoped to consolidate the entire school on to one site early in the New Year.


The Montserrat Board of Tourism is spearheading the planning for some form of year end festival for residents of Montserrat. A small committee has been meeting on a regular basis and already plans are at an advance stage for a calypso show without the usual "king" set-up. It is reported that 15 calypsonians are ready to start practice sessions. There are plans for Christmas carols, children's activities including story telling and some of the traditional Montserratian activities. It is also hoped to have a Christmas market for small vendors.

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

Presented by the Information & Education Unit, Emergency Dept
St Johns Village, Montserrat, Leeward Islands, West Indies.
Tel 664 491 7166, Fax 664 491 2474, E Mail:
Richard Aspin, Unit Co-ordinator.