Montserrat Today

For Wednesday December 17, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has been at a moderately low level over the last 24 hours. The dominant activity once again was rockfalls and there was about 50 of these. In addition there were some long period, hybrid and volcano tectonic earthquake signals.

This all goes to show that the dome continues to grow at a steady level, the area of growth is currently above Galways. Yesterday there was a steady plume of steam and ash in the Galways area but low clouds prevented visibility of the dome.

Dust levels in the central and northern zones are very low and recent rains have washed away most traces of ash in these zones.


The West Indies Guard Ship, HMS Newcastle published the following press release this morning:-

"The West Indies Guard Ship, HMS Newcastle will pay a return visit to Montserrat this weekend - the second in their current tour of duty.

Commander Nick Lambert and 270 man crew will finish construction work in St Johns in conjunction with the Royal Montserrat Defence Force. This will complete a weeks work by a contingent of 27 men currently on island, made up of Royal Marines, navy personnel and a detachment of paratroopers currently on attachment to the ship.

On Sunday December 21st, the ship will play host to close on 200 schoolchildren from the Montserrat Secondary School for a Christmas Party to help alleviate stress caused by the volcano.

The party will include, a visit to the ship, a beach barbecue and sports, and will culminate with a visit from Santa Claus via the ship's helicopter.

The West Indies Guard Ship spends 7 months in the Caribbean, carrying out duties including disaster support for Montserrat and is never more than a couple of days sailing time from the volcano hit island". (END)


With the absence of any hotels in Montserrat in the central or northern zones, the Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB) has published a list of approved Bed & Breakfast Accomodation in private homes in Montserrat.

The list can be obtained by calling MTB at 664 491 2230 or 8730. Alternatively the list can be accessed on the www courtesy of Bill Innanen at the following address:- (then follow the path to Montserrat).


The Emergency Dept has announced that another shelter building has been cleared. This time it is the Look-Out School which will be handed back to education officials.

The latest shelter figures show that there are now 521 residents in shelter in a total of 34 buildings including new shelter buildings at Davey Hill and Manjack. The two largest shelters are the Salem Campus of MSS and the Brades Primary School where each have 124 persons sheltering. Apart from these two buildings, no other shelter has more than 20 residents.


Public television in the U.S.A. better known as PBS, will film part of a T.V. series in Montserrat early next year.

The programme series "Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda" will concentrate on Science in the Caribbean for one of its hour long programmes in 1998. The programme will include stories on sea turtles, corals, Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, the physics of the steel pan and Montserrat's Soufriere Hills Volcano.

A four man crew will be in Montserrat in mid January to film the local segment. They are expected to be on island for about a week.


(continued from yesterday)

(27) No formal meeting has taken place to our knowledge at either Ministerial or official level between HMG and all the member countries of CARICOM to discuss HMG's current policy on Montserrat, the future of the island, assistance to Montserratians elsewhere in the Caribbean and on possible involvement of other islands in the event of an emergency evacuation. We recommend that such a meeting take place. We also recommend that High Commissioners and other FCO representatives take a much more active role in explaining HMG's actions in Montserrat, in providing essential information and in overseeing the welfare of Montserratians who have relocated to other islands in the Caribbean.

(28) We recommend that the food voucher system end as soon as possible and be replaced by a comprehensive system of income support.

(29) We recommend urgent action from the DSS to ensure that all Montserratians relocating to the U.K. receive a National Insurance Number within a week of arrival, or that the number is issued in Montserrat or Antigua before departure. We recommend that assistance and advice be given to Montserratians in the U.K. on how to claim social security benefits and complete the necessary forms. We recommend that particular attention be paid to the siuation in Hackney. (more 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.