Montserrat This Week - 012

For the period of 17 September - 23 September, 1998
A weekly newsletter for E mail subscribers published by the
Emergency Department, Governor's Office, Montserrat.


Before the onset of the hurricane the volcano was very quiet with just a few rockfalls and VT's. Since the hurricane's heavy rains there has been some phreatic eruptions from several vents which has resulted in the venting of steam and ash. On Monday an ash cloud formed and was blown towards the north leading to some very light ashing coming down with the rain.

There have been serious mud flows in the valleys around the dome as a result of the heavy rain, especially hard hit was the Belham Valley area.

Following the passage of the hurricane, all monitoring equipment has been re-installed and the MVO is back in full operation.


Government House Press Release dated 2 pm Monday Sept 21st:

Hurricane Georges passed very close to Montserrat in the early hours of Monday 21st September with driving rains and wind speeds of a little over 100 miles per hour.

Storm damage on the island is described as minimal, however there has been some flooding and several roads were blocked at first light.

Teams from the Emergency Services including Public Works have been out since early morning in an attempt to clear roads of fallen debris.

No casualties have been reported as a result of the storm and only one family have been made homeless as a result of their roof blowing off.

Some 12 hurricane shelters were available to residents and hundreds of people sought shelter overnight. Within the last few hours many of them have returned to their homes. The elderly, sick and those with special needs continue to receive special care.

Utility companies are busy carrying out damage assessments, however the Montserrat Water Authority are hoping to provide water to consumers for a four hour period this afternoon. MONLEC will phase in power supplies starting from this evening.

HMS Sheffield, the West Indies Guard Ship has deployed its helicopter to Montserrat to see if they can assist in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Normal ferry and helicopter services to the island should be resumed by mid week. (END)


The following is a text of an address to the nation by Governor Tony Abbott following Hurricane Georges:

"I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to you one more time in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges to pay tribute to everyone on the island for the disciplined and efficient way you all set about taking the necessary precautions to meet the threat posed by this storm. It was a real team effort and shows what we can do when we put our minds to something and work together.

As you know, providence smiled on us and what threatened to be a major disaster for Montserrat was averted at the last moment by a shift in the direction of the storm. However, we were prepared for the worst and I am certain the steps that had been taken would have seen us through if we had been unlucky enough to suffer a direct hit.

Although it is always somewhat invidious to single out certain people and groups for thanks, I think it is appropriate to acknowledge the sterling efforts of the staff of the Emergency Department for overseeing the implementation of our hurricane plans, manning the EOC throughout the storm and for making the arrangements to prepare and transport people to the hurricane shelters; the Royal Montserrat Police Force and the Royal Montserrat Defence force for their unstinting support and assistance, the search & rescue teams, fortunately their services were not needed but they were in place and ready for what could have been a major operation; the doctors, nurses and others in the health service for making provision for and ensuring the comfort of the elderly, the sick and those with special needs - I include volunteers of the Red Cross in this; the Public Works Department for all their efforts in protecting buildings and keeping roads open; Brown and Root and our local contractors who offered whatever assistance thay could provide. I am sure you would also wish to join me in a special word of thanks to the staff of the Montserrat Water Authority and MONLEC for restoring services so quickly and of course Cable & Wireless for keeping the phones working. I would like to make special mention of staff at radio ZJB who did a marvellous job of keeping us all so well informed throughout the whole crisis.

If I have missed anyone, I apologise. As I have said, I think we all deserve a pat on the back for the way we came together to meet the challenge posed by Hurricane Georges. This is the spirit which will ensure a bright and prosperous future for Montserrat.

Last but not least we have to thank God. Who else could have diverted the eye of the Hurricane to the north of Montserrat at the last minute? Who else could have brought down the windspeeds from the perilous 150 m.p.h. and upwards for which meteorologists could find no logical reason? There is no doubt in my mind that God answered our prayers and stayed on our side".


The ferry between Montserrat and Antigua has some new temporary operating times as a result of the curfew in Antigua following the passage of Hurricane Georges.

Monday to Saturday the ferry from Antigua to Montserrat leaves at 7 am and 2.30 pm and in the opposite direction from Montserrat to Antigua it leaves at 8.30 am and 4 pm.

Check in is one hour in advance. There is no Sunday service. Meantime, the helicopter service is back up and running at normal times.


The Government of Montserrat is assisting the St Kitts Government following the devastation to that island following the passage of Hurricane Georges.

Currently in St Kitts are radio technicians Lowell Mason and John Silcott who are rendering assistance in getting Radio ZIZ back on air following the storm.

Government has also offered assistance in the medical field if it is needed.


The Many Happy Returns 2 Concert originally carded for next week has been cancelled because of Hurricane Georges. the organisers of the event are now working on new dates.

The Tourism Week of Activities (of which the concert was part of) will continue and will kick off this coming Sunday.

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.