Montserrat Today

For Friday November 18, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The level of seismic activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has been moderate over the last 24 hours. There were over 250 quite small hybrid earthquakes but interspaced with a few larger events. In addition there have been periods of tremor and some rockfalls.

Although visibility at the dome is poor, there has been some steaming observed and it is thought that the new dome above Galways continues to grow. The entire dome complex is unstable and rockfalls and pyroclastic flows could occur at any time.


Over the course of this week the activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has been relatively quiet. Once the major hybrid swarms finished last weekend there has been little in the way of pyroclastic flows. However some rockfalls have occurred in the Galways and Tar River Valley areas. Towards the end of the week the seismic activity picked up a little again.

Visibility of the dome has been very poor for the week, however it is thought that the new dome over the Galways area has been continuing to grow. Fumeroles have been spotted in this area venting steam and a very small amount of ash.

Ash levels for the week have been generally at a low level with the ash monitoring devices reading only between 15 and 50 micrograms per cubic metre in Olveston, Woodlands, and Mongo Hill.

The dome is thought to be between 75 and 80 million cubic metres in size but the poor visibility has not allowed a chance for MVO scientists to confirm this.

Dr Sue Loughlin the MVO's Deputy Chief Scientist leaves Montserrat this weekend at the end of her tour of duty, she is replaced by Dr Gill Norton who arrived here mid-week.


Following reports coming out of Britain that British Members of Parliament were concerned over increased activity at the volcano and that the north might not be safe, the Chief Scientist at the MVO Dr Keith Rowley has assured all local Montserratians that nothing has changed at the volcano.

Commenting that the volcano's activity has not increased over the last few days Dr Rowley also added that the conditions in the north were no different since the last scientific assessment took place in August.

The next scientific assessment will be made at a meeting of head scientists in early December.


A release from GIS and the Ministry of Health & Community Services has outlined the end of the food voucher system. The release, dated late yesterday says:

"The Ministry of Health and Community Services is pleased to announce, that as of December 1997, the Food Voucher System will be changed to a system where all allowances will be paid by cheques. In other words recipients will receive cheques instead of food vouchers.

In order to bring this new system on stream quickly, and to make it as efficient as possible, several changes will be made to the old system.

The food voucher office is therefore craving the indulgence, patience and co-operation of everyone presently living on the island, who would qualify according to the criteria laid out as follows:

(a) individuals who have relocated from the unsafe zone to the safe zone

(b) individuals 16 years of age and above who have absolutely no source of income

(c) individuals 60 years and older who have special needs.

Persons who are eligible or persons who qualify are therefore requested to re-register with the food voucher office. You must bring along a passport or a birth certificate for identification purposes.

This is:

(a) to ensure that the office has the correct names of all recipients, as cheques will only be issued with a person's official and proper names.

(b) to facilitate the expediency in changing and honouring these cheques at the bank and

(c) to reduce and possibly eliminate the confusion that now exists among persons from the same area with the same name.

Registrations begin on Monday November 17th and last to November 21st from 9 am to 3 pm at the following locations:

(1) Gerald's park (2) Cudjoe Head Police Station (3) St Peters Rectory Lawn (4) Salem campus of the Montserrat Secondary School.

Persons in shelters will be registered separately.

Remember payments will be made strictly from the new registration list, and not from the old food voucher list. We appeal to everyone to co-operate, re-register and help you to get your cheque for Christmas". (END)


Three Montserratian students left here this week to take up University scholarships in Cuba. The scholarships were offered to Montserrat as part of that country's response to the ongoing volcanic crisis.


The Ministry of Education has announced that Primary and Nursery School will re-open on Monday coming November 17th. The Primary School will be in new wooden classrooms at the Brades School playing fields and the Nursery School at the St.John's Day Care Centre site which was emptied as a shelter last week. Secondary School has been in operation since September.


Three of the new dormitory type buildings at Manjack are ready for occupation and two others are almost ready on the same site. In addition similar buildings are at an advanced stage of construction at Davy Hill. When all are ready it is hoped to empty some of the school shelters into these buildings to free up school property for their original purpose.


A recent survey of all building sites in Montserrat show that there is currently over sixty job vacancies on the sites. This is made up of 13 masons, 20 carpenters, and 28 labourers. Efforts are being made to attract Montserratians back home from Antigua to assist.

More information on Monday..................................

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.