Montserrat Today

For Tuesday January 06, 1998
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano over the past 24 hours has been at a moderate level with several hybrid earthquakes and just one volcano-tectonic event. In addition there has been over 70 rockfall signals mainly in the Galways area where there was a further pyroclastic flow yesterday.

This activity has come in pulses some 6 to 8 hours apart and this has continued overnight.

Over the last 24 hours there have been no clear views of the dome possible due to cloud cover. However it is thought that the dome continues to grow in the crater formed by the Boxing Day collapse. Air quality at all monitoring stations in the central and northern zones was very good yesterday.


Yesterday, the Emergency Dept was overseeing the transfer of shelterees from the Zion Pentecostal Church at Cudjoe Head to newly constructed property at Manjack. The building is to be handed back to Church authorities.

As of this morning there are now 510 persons living in shelter and this number is expected to fall even further when the next phase of new houses are completed at the Look-Out site early next month.


After a term spread over several sites, the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) is now all at one site. The newly built school and associated port-a-cabins at Look-Out is now the site of the school from the start of the new term yesterday.

New principal of the School Miss C. Greenaway reports that there are 200 children on roll at the school from Forms 1 to 5. The school is not offering a 6th Form during this academic year.

In addition to MSS there are two primary schools in operation the St Augustine RC Primary School at Woodlands and the Brades Primary School.


The proposed CARICOM Village is a step closer to fruition with the arrival on island of an Engineering Unit of the Jamaica Defence Force.

The CARICOM Village to be built at Davey Hill will see 24 Cuban made pre-fabricated houses erected on the site by the Jamaican Defence Force. The houses have been shipped from Cuba and the Jamaican team on island are the planners of the project. On arrival of the houses, a Unit of the Jamaican Defence Force will arrive for the actual erection of the houses.

The British Government is providing the infrastructure for the project through British Company Brown & Root.

SCIENTIFIC REPORT:- (continued from yesterday)

(3) Estimates under the current conditions suggest that the annualised risk is less then 1 in 100,000 in northern Montserrat, or minimal on the Chief Medical Officer (England & Wales) individual risk scale. People living south of Nantes River (in the Exclusion Zone) are at moderate to high level of individual risk, increasing towards the volcano.

(4) If activity continues at the same level, or escalates slightly, large pyroclastic flows from dome collapses are the principal hazards. The risk of incurring 5 to 10 fatalities from pyroclastic flows can be reduced if the present Exclusion Zone is strictly adhered to. With a significant escalation in activity, larger explosive eruptions could give rise to multiple fatalities. Specific risk-reduction measures depend on hazard type. For pyroclastic surge eruptions or large dome-collapse flows, the only effective mitigation is to move the exposed population further away from the volcano. For heavy tephra falls, taking shelter in robust buildings or strengthening roofs can reduce risks. (More tomorrow)


After several weeks in which LPG (cooking gas) was not available, a shipment arrived over the weekend from Nevis. Distribution to the shelters, hospital and schools is underway and public distribution starts tomorrow.

The Government of Montserrat recently announced that Delta Petroleum will be given the task of providing LPG to the island and arrangements are being made to ship the commodity in bulk to the island to alleviate the necessity of shipping bottles back and forth to Nevis.

A new LPG gas depot will be available at Carr's Bay.

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.