Montserrat Today

For Friday November 28, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


After several weeks of relatively quiet activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano it ramped up over the last 24 hours.

In the last 24 hours there has been a few long period and hybrid earthquakes and well over 200 rockfall signals. The main event however, was pyroclastic flow activity which went on from 2.45 pm to 8 pm yesterday. The flows started with little or no signals and went over Galways down the White River almost to the sea at O'Garro's.

The flows were generally slow moving and were made up of cold (old) material from the dome. In addition there was vigorous steaming from the dome above the Tar River side of the dome.

The GPS survey, reported yesterday, shows that the positions of Windy Hill and Whites have not changed but the Brodericks site height continues to increase at a slow rate.

The ash produced by the pyroclastic flows yesterday was blown over the Plymouth area and out to sea. Meanwhile, ash levels in the central and northern zones have remained at a low level.

Yesterdy'a activity shows that the volcano remains very active and everyone should remain cautious.


The factory shell constructed at Brades was handed over to the Government of Montserrat by the building contractors yesterday. The 20,000 sq ft facility will become home to several industrial enterprises who have been displaced by the volcanic action.


Following repeated reports that children of legal school age are not attending school, it has been announced that the Dept of Community Services will carry out a social investigation into these cases of truancy.

Some months ago the Ministry of Labour toured worksites to ensure that all employees were above the minimum school leaving age (age 14) and several children were discovered to be working. These children were returned to the classroom. However, Education officials are still reporting cases of under 14's still on island but not attending school.

The late start to school, movement of people into shelter, impending departure overseas are just some of the reasons stated for the truancy. It is hoped that everyone of legal school age in Montserrat will be back in the classroom for the start of the second term in January.


The Ministry of Agriculture is addressing the stray animal problem. Already they are shipping cattle to St Kitts and Dominica in a joint project with the private sector. The Ministry is now turning its attention to the problem of stray dogs and cats.

This comes after complaints of packs of semi-wild dogs touring residential areas scavaging and also attacking sheep. Wild cats have also been appearing in the central zone as they move northwards looking for food.

The Ministry of Agriculture is now discussing the problem with the RSPCA in Britain to look at humane methods of dealing with the problem.


A Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) consultant, Dr Tim Keim will be in Montserrat tomorrow to review the disaster training programme on island. During his one day visit, Dr Keim will meet several officials within the Ministry of Health.


The Montserrat Branch of the British Red Cross has lost two of its long serving top officials. President, Mr Eric Kelsick and former President Mr Sydney Meade are both re-locating abroad because of the volcanic crisis. There was a ceremony to thank them earlier this week at the Red Cross H.Q.

The Red Cross branch is urging Montserratians to fill key positions in the management structure to allow it to continue its role in the crisis. The main role is the care of some 44 institutionalised elderly persons and several others within the community.


Anglicans and Methodists can worship once again in two more of their churches this weekend. The Emergency Dept has handed back over to church authorities two buildings recently emptied as shelters. They are the St John's Anglican Church and the Judy Piece Methodist Church.

The church community have been social partners in the housing of evacuees since the very first evacuation in 1995.


The eight Montserratian calypsonians who are raising money for their fellow musicians who have lost their homes to volcanic action will appear in New York on December 13th. The show will be at The Workmen's Circle Auditorium on Grace Ave in the Bronx. Showtime is 9 pm. The calypsonians are being helped in their venture by American Airlines who are providing rebated fares for the group.

The group will have a pre-departure show in Montserrat on Friday December 5th at Brades with all proceeds going to the same cause. If the venture is a success there are plans for similar shows in Boston and London. The group are calling themselves "Concerned Calypsonians in Concert".

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.