Montserrat Eruption Case Study

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  • Created on: 22-05-13 10:47
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Montserrat, 1995-97
Background Information:
British colony in the Caribbean
Plymouth, the capital city, and the majority of infrastructure was located in the south of the
Located on a destructive plate boundary (North American and Caribbean Plates
1995 ­ Chances Peak began giving off warning signals, such
as small earthquakes and eruptions of dust/ash
Evacuations began to take place ­ moving people from the
south of the island to the north but it was a slow procedure
25th June 1997, the peak erupted
o Volcanic bombs were hurled ­ e.g. in Bethel rocks
of 5m in size landed
o Ash covered 2/3 of the island
o The dome collapsed resulting in 5million cubic
metres of ash and dust (Pyroclastic flows)
enveloping the surrounding area
60% of all housing was destroyed in areas
75% of agricultural land was destroyed
The sea and airport were covered in ash causing them to shut down
Water supplies were infiltrated, leaving a high demand for water
Many people suffered from severe burns from standing on ash deposits of only 1-2 cm
A large majority of the wildlife was destroyed ­ marine life was destroyed by the sea being
poisoned by the ash
The air traffic in the Caribbean was largely disrupted
19 people lost their lives ­ primarily people in small villages right at the base of the volcano
100-150 houses were completely destroyed, with many others being largely damaged
8,000 refugees left the island and didn't return
The tourism industry was drastically hit ­ causing unemployment to rise from 7% to 80%
The population fell from 12,000 to 5,000
Loss of income from industries resulted in a lower standard of living conditions and quality of
With everyone flocking to the north, shelters became overcrowded and there was little
infrastructure in the south to help provide for people
In 1996 the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) was set up to monitor volcanic activity
An exclusion zone was set up around the volcano
Montserrat police force were set in to try and find survivors

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Dutch and French helicopters were sent in along with the British navy to assist the Emergency
Support Unit
Helicopters could only reach the East side of the island initially due to ash in
the air providing problems at reaching survivors
£41million was provided, with every adult being offered £2,600 compensation
This provoked riots as many people claimed that it was not enough
The Red Cross were heavily involved with providing necessities such as water, food and
An emergency jetty was…read more


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