Montserrat Today

For Friday/Saturday May 29/30, 1998
Presented by the Information Unit of the
Government of Montserrat's Emergency Department


Activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano is at a low level with just an occasional volcano-tectonic earthquake and a small rockfall.

There has been a little rain in recent days and mud continues to come down the Belham River Valley. At the present time there is only about 2 feet clearance between the underside of the bridge close to the golf course and the top of the debris flows.

Ash levels continue to be monitored and are low in the central and northern zones but continue to be high in the exclusion zone.


Following consideration by the Volcano Executive Group (VEG) it has been agreed that it is essential that any clean-up of ash in Friths, Salem and Old Towne should be co-ordinated.

H.E. The Governor Mr Anthony Abbott will convene a meeting of Government Departments and agencies to consider the best way of tackling such an exercise. He is approaching medical experts for advice to minimise the risks to those people involved in any clean-up operations and to provide guidance on the precautions to be taken when cleaning volcanic ash. In order to avoid duplication of work whereby ash from one property is washed onto a neighbouring property that has already been cleaned, it will be necessary to approach the task in a methodical manner. A work programme will therefore be devised on a street by street, area by area basis.

The plan envisages the support of volunteers from within the community assisted by Public Works Dept, the Montserrat Fire Service, Environmental Health Unit and the Royal Montserrat Police Force.

Governor Abbott wishes to emphasise that anyone entering the Exclusion Zone does so at their own risk and that it is still too soon to consider changes to the Exclusion Zone borders.

The next general meeting of scientists is expected to take place in mid-July on Montserat in the event the volcano remains quiet until then.

The Governor seeks the assistance and co-operation of the community. They will be kept fully informed as the clean up programme develops. (END)


The public is being advised that the taking of sands from public beaches without a license is illegal.

There have been complaints of large scale sand mining from beaches to feed the construction industry. A meeting was called recently to discuss the meeting but was poorly attended. A second attempt at a meeting will take place shortly.

Meantime police are being asked to be more vigilant on checking whether or not vehicles coming out of the exclusion zone are carrying sand.


The Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Burgess is reporting that the Royal Montserrat Police Force has recruited five (5) new officers. This is as a result of a recent recruitment drive.


ZJB hosted a call in radio programme last night (Thursday) to discuss the preliminary findings of the study on children exposed to ash in the volcanic crisis.

The study carried out by Dr Peter Baxter, found that there was a larger percentage of southern children with asthma than children from the north, where ash levels were much lower.

The study also found that a large percentage of Montserratian children were asthmatic BEFORE the volcano erupted and these figures are now to be compared to other Caribbean studies on asthma in children of the region.


The usual evening ferry from Montserrat to Antigua tomorrow (Sat. May 30th) has been cancelled.


Monday next, June 1st is a public holiday in Montserrat (Whit Monday) and all Government Offices including the Emergency Dept will be closed.

More information next week..................................

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.