Montserrat Today

For Wednesday December 10, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


In the last 24 hours seismicity increased at the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Once again rockfall signals dominated with over 150 being recorded. In addition there was some hybrid and long period earthquakes recorded. All this shows that the dome continues to grow and this is now concentrated on the Galways sector. In addition there has been some rockfall signals in the Chances Peak and Tar River Valley areas. For much of yesterday there were some diffused ash clouds caused by the rockfalls but prevailing winds blew these away from the central and northern zones causing on island ash levels to be minimal.


Due to a technical fault at the transmitter site at Barzey's Radio Montserrat (ZJB) was off the air yesterday and this morning for about 15 hours.

The station dropped off air at 5.45 pm yesterday and finally came back on at around 10 am this morning following repairs.

ZJB broadcasts 24 hours per day normally on its FM frequency of 95.5 and is also rebroadcast on Channel 5 of Cable TV.


Following increased seismic activity over the last few days, entry into the exclusion zone has been curtailed for safety reasons.

For the past few weeks residents applying for permission to enter the zone in the Corkhill to Richmond Hill areas only have been allowed access in the protection of police officers and scientists. This scheme has now been put on hold because of the increased seismicity.

Residents are therefore being urged to put on hold all applications for entry until further notice.

However, residents who wish access to the Salem area are still being allowed to visit their property in this area. The Police officials at the major checkpoint at Nantes River on the Salem main road allow in a maximum of 30 residents at a time for a maximum of four hours to visit the Salem area only.


The 50 housing units at Look Out are progressing nicely and many have all the external work finished.

The concrete block built homes are locally designed and constructed under the management of Brown & Root Ltd. Each of the present phase of houses are detached two bedroomed units with a total floor space of about 600 square feet.

50 units at Davey Hill built by Brown & Root are now being lived in.


The helicopter contracted to the island for the Montserrat to Antigua route has been down for a few days for repairs and routine maintenance. Passengers have been switching to the ferry on the advice of the handling agents M.A.S.

Emergency medical flights have been covered by the helicopter contracted to the Observatory, however the regular helicopter is expected back in service later today.


(continued from yesterday)

(18) We recommend urgent action to ensure that the schools are properly supplied with resources and equipment. We also recommend that once emergency housing is available, the GOM make it their priority to return the school buildings to their intended use. Before July 1995 Montserrat had an enviable reputation for the quality of its education system and, despite obvious difficulties since then, great effort has been made by teachers and pupils to maintain such high standards. That tradition must not be threatened by a lack of government support.

(19) It will of course be the case in emergency aid that equipment is bought which is not up to the standard of fully considered development projects. There must, however, be some minimum standards even for the provision of immediate assistance. We criticise DFID for the fact that these purchases fell below such a minimum. We recommend that EMAD consider how emergency purchasing of equipment might be improved on the basis of their experience in Montserrat and report their conclusions to the committee. (more tomorrow)

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.