Montserrat Fact File
Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, in the Caribbean
Began erupting in August 1995, main eruption in June 1997
- What was the plate boundary?
Destructive plate boundary, Atlantic (oceanic) [subducted under] and Caribbean (continental)
- What type of eruption was it?
August 1995-> : dense clouds of vocanic ash
June 1997: pyroclastic flow (mixture of volcanic fragments, ash , mud and toxic gases at a temperature of over 500*C and at a speed of 130km/h
Primary Effects of the Volcano
- 2/3 of the island was covered with ash
- 50% of the population (total population=11,000) were evacuated to the north of the island
- people had to live in makeshift shelters
- 23 people died in 1997
- Plymouth became deserted
- floods (as valleys were blocked with ash)
- airport and port were destroyed
- farmland was destroyed
- forest fires (caused by the pyroclastic flows)
- many schools and hospitals were destroyed
50% of the population was evacuated to the north s
- What did this result in?
people were living in makeshift shelters
it was very cramped
disease could easily spread as there wasn't a clean water supply
the Britsish government spent millions on aid
many people left the island and the population fell to just 3500
23 people dies in 1997
- What does this indicate?
That the evacuation process was effective as it is a low number of deaths
- However the evacuation process was expensive
The airport and port were closed
- What did this mean for rescue?
rescue was very difficult as it could not be done by boat and there wasn't space to land as the airport was destroyed.
Many schools and hospitals were destsroyed
- What did this mean for children?
their education was disrupted as there was nowhere for them to go - charities began to set up emergency schools
- What did this mean for the injured?
their was nowhere fot them to be treated which may lead to death
- What did this mean for the homeless?
there was nowhere that could be used for emergency accomodation as schools are often used for this
Secondary Effects of the Volcano
- What were the secondary effets of the volcano?
most of the southern area was destroyed and any remaining inhabitantshad to endure harsh living conditions in the North - went on for months, nowhere to treat the injued as hospitals destroyed, very cramped
transport remained a problem as port and airport remained closed - new airport wasn't built until 10 years later, lost tourists, lost money
tourist indistry is still siffering with few visitors except cruise ships looking at the volcano - loss of money and tourists damaged the economy
over half the population left the island and did not return - people had lost their homes and businesses, by 2010 the population had risen to 5000
Short-Term Responses to the Montserrat Volcanic Er
- Evacuation (7,000 people to neighbouring island Antigua)
- Abandonment of Plymouth
- British Government gave £41 million for compensation and resdevelopment
- Unemployment rose due to lack of tourism industry
- Money was given to individuals to help the to move to other countries
- Roits occured as locals complained that the British Government wasn't doing enough to help
- Providing people with fresh food and water
- Providing medical care
Long-Term Responses to the Montserrat Volcanic Eru
- Exclusion zone set up
- 3 year redevelopment programme - houses, schools, medical services, infrastructure, agriculture - funded by UK (£100 million)
- Younger people left as they saw little chance of work
- Volcanic observatory was built - to monitor the volcano - the MVO
- Islanders were helped to understnad the risks and reduce problems for the future
- New roads and airport built (10 years later costing £11 million)
- Services in the North were expanded
- Many people had moved back by 2005
- Volcano resulted in a growth in tourisms, but despite new airport, it is questionable whether tourism will return in large numbers