Montserrat Today

For Tuesday December 02, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The major activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano over the past 24 hours was a pyroclastic flow at about 8 pm yesterday which was in the Galways / White River area. It was not as large as the one on Thursday last week. After the pyroclastic flow the dome could be seen glowing on its southern side which means that there is still growth in that area.

Prior to the flow, there was ash and steam venting from the dome, over 50 rockfall signals and some long period and hybrid earthquake signals.

The ash levels in Woodlands, St Peters and St Johns are at a very low level presently. Some brief views of the dome yesterday showed that it is still growing but slower than in the past.


Over the next few days in Antigua there will be a meeting of fourteen senior scientists who have worked at the MVO in the past to review the current status of the volcano and to discuss possible future scenarios in the ongoing eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The last such meeting was in August.

The meeting is being held in Antigua because of transport and hotel logistics and yesterday Dr Willie Aspinall and Prof. Barry Voight both of whom are currently at the MVO left to join their colleagues.


A team of local disaster experts headed by the Governor H.E. Anthony Abbott and Chief Minister Hon. David S Brandt are in Guadeloupe today for a one day meeting with the Prefect of that island and his disaster officials. The team comprises of military, police, and Emergency Dept officials to examine possible future evacuation plans, and to discuss how the French island can continue to assist Montserrat in the ongoing crisis.

The visit is a reciprocal visit to one that French officials made to Montserrat last month.


The Montserrat Tourist Board who are organising this years Christmas Festival have announced that the site for festival activities will be at Gerald's Bottom adjacent to the heliport.

The site was used in September of this year for the concert "Many Happy Returns" which saw nearly 2000 people attend. The stage construction at the site is expected to commence tomorrow courtesy of British company Brown & Root.


(Continued from yesterday)

(3) We are amazed that a comprehensive survey of Montserrat's population has yet to be undertaken. In the weekend before the Chief Minister gave evidence to the committee, the Government of Montserrat (GOM) was able to organise a count of residents in the north with the help of teachers, the total being 4008. It is a clear responsibility of the GOM to know the population which it is there to serve. Even without consultants from the U.K. we are surprised, given the seriousness of the situation, that no provisional analysis was attempted. We believe that the recommendation in the Calman Report of a comprehensive needs assessment should take place without delay and that the number of those on Montserrat be updated each day on the basis of arrival and departure information. If the GOM is unable to complete such a survey in the near future, we recommend that HMG undertake it.

(4) We note that HMG retains a responsibility for the welfare of Montserratians as Dependent Territory citizens. We are appalled that vulnerable persons should be found in such poor and degrading conditions over two years after volcanic activity began. We recommend that HMG find out what happened to the equipment from the new hospital and use as much of it as possible in the temporary hospital in the north of Montserrat. We also recommend that there be an urgent provision by HMG of resources which can be immediately used to upgrade the standard of the temporary hospital. (To be continued).

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.