Saturday, January 17, 2009

Montserrat's Soufrière Hills erupts causing villagers to flee the premises

There has been an increase in volcanic activity at Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills, with ash being thrown more than 12 kilometers high and scattered throughout the entire island, forcing at least 70 residents to remove to other locations.

Soufriere Hills VolcanoTwo explosions occurred on Saturday and, according to reports, the instrument that usually monitors the volcano did not give warning of the eruptions. The Antigua Sun reported that Dr Nico Fournier of the Volcano Observatory said that within the next few days he would be able to ascertain if there would be further eruption.

During the past 14 years the volcano has erupted several times, forcing residents to evacuate their homes and entire towns and migrate to the United Kingdom, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, and other areas. The first eruption was in July 1995 and two years later there was a big explosion, which buried the capital Plymouth and claimed the lives of 19 people.

A large number of Montserrat nationals went to the United Kingdom where they were given full residency and they became British citizens in 2002. Some went to nearby Antigua and others removed to the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands.

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