Montserrat Today

For Tuesday, December 16, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The level of activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano remains low with just about 70 rockfall signals recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition there were a few long period and hybrid earthquakes.

Yesterday the dome was clear for part of the afternoon and some good views obtained. The north and west of the dome show little sign of activity but there was an ash and steam plume above the growth area above Galways.

Ash levels are low and the dust measurements in the central and northern zones are low at the moment.

There is a major build up of material above Galways and the active part of the dome is currently behind this build up so pyroclastic flows could occur at any time. Residents should stay alert.


The Antigua And Barbuda Red Cross have announced that they have received financial assistance from the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to start a five month long food voucher programme for Montserratians evacuated to Antigua.

The Red Cross will provide some 3000 evacuated Montserratians with food vouchers twice a month to a value of EC$75 each time to be spent in five supermarkets identified by the Antiguan Red Cross. The vouchers will not be exchanged for alcohol, tobacco or electrical items.

The project has been developed by the Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross in association with Mr Ian Heigh the programme delegate of the British Red Cross. Both are extremely thankful to ECHO and state the programme is likely to start by year end.

Meantime in Montserrat, food vouchers have been phased out and are no longer distributed. From this month, a revised list of claimants will be paid a cheque each month as income support if they qualify.


LPG gas is currently on island and is being distributed at the NOSCA compound to those who brought in bottles previously. It has been announced that gas distribution continues tomorrow and that anyone from the central and northern zones with empty bottles should take them to NOSCA also tomorrow.

Gas bottles are currently sent to Nevis for filling.


Montserrat's Attorney General for the last six years, Hon. Gertel Thom left island at the end of last week to take up a new posting in Antigua.

Mrs Thom, who served under three Governors and three Chief Ministers was honoured at several ceremonies during the course of last week.


At this time of year many residents and householders return to Montserrat for the Christmas season. Anyone contemplating the trip this year are urged to ensure that they can access their property BEFORE leaving on their journey. The majority of the island is in the exclusion zone to which there is no access. As a guide, a line has been drawn from north of Salem to just south of Look-Out and there is no access to anywhere south of this line.

Accommodation is severely limited in the central and northern zones of the island and there are currently no hotels open on the island. The Montserrat Tourist Boeard, however has a listing of accommodation where Bed & Breakfast is available. Details can be obtained from 664 491 2230 / 8730.


(continued from yesterday)

(25) We are most grateful to the Government and people of Antigua for their generosity to Montserratians at this difficult time. We trust that HMG does not forget that it retains a real responsibility for Montserratians who have relocated to Antigua and elsewhere in the Caribbean. This means HMG should respond readily and promptle to reasonable requests for assistance from Caribbean Governments, including further provision for the elderly and the mentally and physically disabled in suitable and properly staffed sheltered accommodation.

(26) We consider the abatement for those who relocated before 16, August 1997 and who are employed to be unnecessary and unfair. We believe it should end immediately. We recommend that all Montserratians who have relocated to the Caribbean region, and whose savings and assets outside Montserrat are less than EC$42,000 receive the same relocation grant on the same terms, whenever they left the island from the start of the volcanic activity in July 1995 (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.