THE VOLCANIC EXPLANATION:
Once again rockfall signals have dominated the activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano with over 50 being recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition there were some hybrid and long period earthquakes in the reporting period.
Yesterday allowed some good views of the dome and it was observed to be growing in the southern sector. The dome has considerably increased in height since it was last observed about 10 days ago. A photographic survey was carried out to determine the new height and volume of the dome and this information will be released in a future MVO report.
The north east parts of the dome are generating a strong white steam plume and volcanic ash and gas are emerging from the active part of the dome. Some rockfalls have gone down the Tar River Valley in the last few days and these are expected to continue. This means that the dome is growing over a wide area and pyroclastic flows are expected in any of several valleys in the near future.
The air quality as Christmas approaches is very good and there is little or no ash in the central and northern zones of the island.
PINK MEALY BUG IN MONTSERRAT:
The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed the presence in Montserrat of the deadly pink mealy bug which is very destructive to crops.
Several other islands close to Montserrat have been affected for some years but this is the first time the bug has been reported here. Ministry of Agriculture officials are cutting back and burning the infested plants and trees and are to introduce predators that will eat the bug. It is hoped that this timely action will bring the bug under control.
ANTIGUA RED CROSS PRESS RELEASE:
The Antigua And Barbuda Red Cross released the following press statement earlier this morning:-
More than 350 Montserratian evacuees partied last night at Red Cross HQ in Old Parham Road, St Johns, Antigua. Hundreds of Montserratian evacuees now living in Antigua will be spending their first Christmas away from Montserrat because of the volcanic activities on that island.
Funds for the party were made possible from the sale of Christmas cards specially produced by Mrs Alison Camacho and donations from Finance & Development Co Ltd on the Old Parham Road. Montserratians danced to their native music and the children were treated to Christmas gifts.
Meanwhile, more than 1500 Montserratian evacuees living in Antigua have registered to receive a new five month food voucher programme begining January 2, 1998. The programme developed by the Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross and the British Red Cross is to be funded by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). (END OF RELEASE)
GOVERNMENT OFFICES CLOSED:
All Government Offices in Montserrat will close today for the Christmas season and will re-open next Monday December 29th. Next week offices will also close on Wednesday December 31st 1997 and Thursday January 1st 1998.
The Information and Educatation Unit of the Emergency Department would like to extend to all the regular readers of "Montserrat Today" a very Happy Christmas and a Joy filled New Year.
Our next edition will be published on Monday January 5th 1998
Season's greetings to all....................................