Date: November 4, 2011
Written by Nerissa Golden
Montserrat’s Volcano Hazard Level Lowered
BRADES, Montserrat (November 4, 2011) – The National Disaster Preparedness and Advisory Committee has taken a decision to reduce the hazard level of Soufriere Hills Volcano from 3 to 2, which will allow day-time access to Zone C.
Zone C comprises Cork Hill, Delvins, Weekes, Foxes Bay and Richmond Hill. Note there will be no access to St Georges Hill since is it now in Zone V.
Daytime access means that persons can visit these areas using a vehicle from 8:00 to 4:00pm. Children can only enter accompanied by their parents. Entry will be at a manned gate on the Corkhill Road adjacent to the condominiums on the southern side of the Belham Valley. Caution is urged when driving in the area as many of the roads are overgrown and are in poor condition.
The Montserrat Volcano Observatory has advised that the volcano is in a continued state of pause which is now the longest since the eruption began in 1995. The current pause has lasted 629 days. (Theprevious longest pause of 625 days occurred between 1998 and 1999).
The MVO Director, Dr. Paul Cole, has also stated that the frequency of pyroclastic flows occurring from the remaining lava dome has decreased.
Although the decision has been made to reduce the hazard level, residents and visitors need to be vigilant at all times because volcanic activity can still increase with very little or no warning. Those persons entering should keep their car radios tuned to ZJB Radio at all times when in Zone C. They should also carry a battery powered transistor radio and mobile phone with them if they leave their cars.
Persons entering Zone C should exercise extreme caution generally and especially in crossing the Belham River Valley when it is raining heavily because of the possibility of lahars/mudflows. The crossing point is at the bottom of Dr Woods Road.
Zone V on the volcanic risk map remains closed. It is still in the full time exclusion zone.