A newslatter published three times weekly by the Information Unit of the Government of Montserrat's Emergency Department.
THE VOLCANIC EXPLANATION:
The activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has reduced a little over the last 24 hours. The rockfall signals have reduced overall but there was a period early this morning (Friday) when activity was slightly elevated.
During the day on Thursday there were some hybrid, long period and volcano-tectonic earthquakes and a period of clear visibility showed that there were vigorous steam plumes from the new dome. This dome fills the scar caused by the December 26th 1997 collapse on the southwestern face.
The dust levels throughout the island are low at the moment and early morning rain on Friday helped to wash away any residual ash from earlier in the week.
FOREIGN SECRETARY'S VISIT:
The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook MP will pay a one day visit to Montserrat tomorrow (Saturday February 14th).
During his stay he will meet with the Chief Minister and Ministers of Government and will visit shelters, the hospital, the Lookout housing project, the Montserrat Secondary School and will have an overflight of the volcano.
Mr Cook will also have a press conference for the international, regional and local journalists who will report on the visit.
HMS NEWCASTLE VISITS:
The West Indies Guard Ship, HMS Newcastle is currently in Montserrat for a routine visit. The planned excursion to the southern areas of the island for a number of residents on board the ship had to be cancelled early this morning because of rough seas.
The activities of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) are currently being reviewed by a multi agency team.
The team will look at the management, funding and staffing of the Observatory and recommend management structures for the continued operation of this vitally important entity.
CENTRAL ZONE SURVEYED:
All the residents of the Central Zone have been surveyed over the last few evenings by members of the Search and Rescue teams.
The survey was to determine the exact location of every house and the number of residents living there. The results will help in the planning of an evacuation exercise for what is now known as Zones 3 and 4 if volcanic activity ever increases to make such an evacuation necessary.
STILL NO LPG:
There is still no LPG (cooking gas) on island. A large number of empty cylinders have been sent to Nevis for filling by the Emergency Dept but rough seas in the area have prevented the boat from sailing from Nevis.
Meantime it is reported that there are adequate amounts of gas (petrol) and diesel on island as a shipment was received before the present rough seas started.
It is reported that the units for the CARICOM village which have been pre-fabricated in Cuba have been shipped to Montserrat and will reach here by month end.
The village, to be sited at Lookout, will have its basic infrastructure put in place by British funding but the actual installation of the 24 housing units will be carried out by a unit from the Jamaica Defence Force.
RED CROSS COUNSELLING WORKSHOP:
Several Montserratian Red Cross members as well as their Antiguan counterparts will attend a workshop next week in St John's, Antigua to train in counselling techniques.
The sessions will be of particular interest to Montserrat as it is thought that regular counselling sessions are needed to relieve the stress caused by the volcanic crisis.
Following the workshop, the Montserrat Red Cross in co-operation with the local branch of Partners of the Americas is expected to host a series of counselling sessions for residents.
More information next week...................................