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Montserrat Fact File

  • Where?

Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, in the Caribbean

  • When?

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

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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
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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

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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
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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.

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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

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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

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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
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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
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