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Years of violent tectonic activity have undermined Montserrat's claim to be an island paradise.
As part of an island arc of volcanoes in the eastern Caribbean, Montserrat always faced the risk of
destruction and following two years of small eruptions between 1995 and 1997, the Chances Peak
volcano fully erupted in June 1997.
Advanced warnings about this devastation had been coming for two years, with an `exclusion zone'
being established across the southern part of the island.
In August 1995, huge pressures built up within the volcanic cone, as molten rock heated ground water
turning it into steam this is called a phreatic eruption.
Two years of gentle eruptions followed and most people either left Montserrat completely or moved to
the North of the island, out of harm's way.
25th June 1997 main event happened.
6 million m of material dumped onto island in just a few minutes
Advance preparation and warning by the Montserrat Government saved many lives
Just 19 people didn't evacuate and were killed
As eruptions continued over the next month the volcanic dome caved in, sending fast-flowing walls of
mud down the mountainside covering much of the south of the island.
By 2003, Montserrat's population has fallen from 12,000 to 4,000 due to emigration and evacuation
with most people living in the north where risks are slower.
This caused problems for the economy as tourism was suspended, farms and commercial assets were
destroyed and investment dried up.
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Mo0ntserrat has received millions of pounds for aid and reconstruction projects under British
sovereignty but they didn't get enough to restore it to its former glory.
In 2003 the Sustainable Development Plan was launched in 2003 the aim was to restore confidence in
the island and rebuilding the infrastructure.…read more