DMCA Press Release Jan 6th

The National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) made a decision on January 6, 2009 to allow Zone B residents full time re-occupation of their homes. Prior to this decision, they were only allowed day time access from 6:30am to 5:30pm on weekdays except on Wednesdays.

His Excellency the Governor Peter Waterworth signed a Proclamation Order on Friday January 02 prohibiting nighttime access in Zone B after the MVO had observed a significant change in the pattern of activity. A regular cycle of strong volcanic pulses was evident resulting in larger and more energetic extrusion of magma.Hoppeslott

The decision to allow full access was taken following a briefing from the Acting Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVCO), Dr. Nicolas Fournier.

Dr Fournier informed the Authorities that since the explosive activities at the volcano that forced daytime access only, conditions were now favorable enough to allow for full time re-occupation of Zone B which includes Isles Bay, Waterworks, parts of Old Town and lower Happy Hill.

Dr. Fournier told the NDPRAC members that since the last explosion on Saturday morning January 2, 2009, the MVO recorded almost no activity at the volcano (very low background activity). That indicates a low lava extrusion rate and/or gentle lava extrusion rate at the dome.

The MVO Director said there was no sign of the old dome having been destabilized by the January 2nd explosions.

He said the MVO was confident that any increase of activity would be noticeable from a monitoring standpoint and as such, the MVO was able to provide sufficient early warning should the activity resume drastically.

Dr. Fournier also explained that it was still a transition period and a slow increase of activity was possible over the coming few weeks.

“Over the past few weeks, Tyre’s Ghaut has filled in considerably with volcanic material and if the activity were to resume, possibly pyroclastic flows could enter the Belham and potentially affect the populated areas along the Belham” said Dr. Fournier.inflatable pool slide

The Hazard Level remains at 4 and residents in Zone B have been urged to remain vigilant and to keep their radios tuned to Radio Montserrat ZJB for further updates..