Montserrat Today

For Thursday December 04, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department

Seismicity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has remained at a low level over the last 24 hours with some hybrid and long period earthquakes as well as over 100 rockfall signals.

The active part of the dome is still the southern flank and a helicopter flight over the area yesterday showed that a lot of pyroclastic flow material has piled up in the White River Valley.

Electronic Distance Measurements (EDM) were made at the Old Towne, Garibaldi Hill and Lees triangle yesterday and the data obtained is still being processed.

Ash levels in the central and northern zones are currently at very low levels.


Following yesterday's public forum on the Physical Development Plan the modified draft plan will be presented to Government before year end.

The plan, which mainly deals with land useage in the north over the next decade was produced by the Physical Planning Unit in collaboration with a British consultant.

The plan has been discussed at up to five public forums over the past few months and several modifications made at the suggestion of various individuals and groups who have attended the forums.


Nine of the fourteen senior scientists and health scientists attending the meeting in Antigua to look at the future prognosis of the Soufriere Hills Volcano flew to Montserrat yesterday to spend the day here getting an update on the current status of the volcano. The meeting reconvenes in Antigua today.


Government has discontinued the food voucher system. All food vouchers must be used by December 7th after which they will have no value. Businesses have to turn them in for payment by December 10th to ensure payment.

A revised list of persons will now get cheques instead of food vouchers from this month.


The Davey Hill Pilgrim Holiness Church has been emptied as a shelter by the Emergency Department and handed back to church officials. The shelter population continues to drop and this morning's count shows some 597 persons still in shelter in a total of 29 buildings.


(continued from yesterday)

(10) We recommend that it be made clear to Montserratians on the island what the risks are in staying there at the moment so that they can make a fully informed choice as to whether or not to relocate elsewhere. We are particularly concerned for those vulnerable groups who in an evacuation would be difficult to move quickly and safely from the island. We recommend that these risks be made clear to them, and where appropriate to their relatives, that arrangements be made and assistance given to neighbouring islands to provide the necessary care, and that they be advised to leave Montserrat for their own safety. We do not recommend forcible evacuation but it is clear that there are and probably will continue to be no proper facilities in Montserrat for such vulnerable groups or qualified persons to look after them.

(11) It is clear that Montserrat would have been immeasurably more prepared for the crisis which has come upon it if the Wadge and Isaacs Report had been carefully read and digested. That far from being read it was hastily forgotten is an opportunity tragically lost. This sorry account must be a signal example of failure in communications, political leadership and responsibility.

(12) The United Kingdom Government must address this problem (of unequal choices being offered to Montserratians) by improving opportunities for people who choose to stay on the island. This can only be done by the effective delivery of relevant aid. (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.