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HFA National Reports

National Report 2007: Unreported

National Report 2006: Unreported

National Report 2005: National Report in Preparation for WCDR (2005) - Monserrat

National Platform:


HFA National Focal Point:

Disaster Management Coordination Agency

Address: St John's Montserrat,

Phone:+(664) 491-7166; Fax: +(664) 491-2466 / 7003

Contact Person:

Captain Horatio Tuitt, Director

Government of Montserrat, Emergency Department

Government Headquarters

P.O. Box 292, Brade’s

Tel: + (491) 7166-3076, Fax: + (491) 2465-7003

E-mail: /

Other contacts:

CDERA member:

Lt. Horatio Tuitt - Head, Emergency Department, Montserrat

Phone No: (664) 491-7166 or 491-2465, Fax No: (664) 491-2474, E-mail:

Country profile:

Official Name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Montserrat.
Capital: Plymouth
Independence day: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Area Total: 102 sq km (land: 102 sq km and water: 0 sq km)
Population density: 9,538 note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2007 est.)
Ethnic Groups: black, white
Religion: Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Christian denominations.\
Official Language: English
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD).
Climate: tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation.

Natural Hazards: Severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted continuously since 1995). the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages.

Social Problems: Illicit Drugs


Over the past decade, the island of Montserrat has come to be identified with a major disaster risk: the volcanic activity of the Soufriere Hills volcano. After having been dormant for more than 400 years, this volcano first erupted on July 18, 1995, following a three-year period of precursor seismic activity. Earthquakes have occurred on several occasions during the last century (during the 1890s, the 1930s and the 1960s) and they have generally been interpreted as failed eruptions. The last decade, however, seems to have initiated a whole new period of activity.

Montserrat is only 16 km long and 10 km wide and is built almost exclusively of volcanic rocks. The island has been formed by three separate volcanic massifs: the Silver Hills, the Center Hills and the Soufriere Hills and South Soufriere Hills. The current activity of the Soufriere Hills has showed a cycle of periods of extrusion and growth of the lava dome, and explosions and collapses of the dome. In a June 1997 eruption, 19 people were killed, the capital Plymouth was evacuated and the southern half of the island was devastated and designated as an exclusion zone. About two thirds of the population of 11,000 was forced to relocate to the northern half of the island, to other Eastern Caribbean nations, the UK and the US. The collapse of the lava dome on 12 July 2003 was the largest event in the entire eruption. It produced major pyroclastic flows that entered the sea, a pyroclastic surge that covered the north eastern flank of the volcano, a tsunami that reached Guadeloupe and a series of explosions. Up to 15 cm of ash was deposited over the western part of the island.

The government has been relocated to the north of the island, and, with international support, has been facing the challenge of living with risk head on. In 1997, the Emergency Department was created. In the aftermath of hurricane Hugo of 1989, which represents another serious hazard to the island, and then of the volcanic activity and the subsequent destruction of constructions that had just been rebuilt after the hurricane, the need for such an institution had become painfully clear. The Department is multi-sectoral and includes representatives from the ministries in charge of the various Utilities, agriculture, land use and planning, health, environment, education, development planning and finance. In 1999, the Disaster Preparedness and Response Act came into force, further strengthening the Emergency Department. In 2005, the Emergency Department was renamed the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) to better reflect its role and function in promoting comprehensive disaster management.

The government is involved in all levels of disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation. In 2003, an island wide vulnerability assessment was completed, resulting in GIS-based multi-hazard maps. Natural hazard assessments as well as environmental impact assessments have to be included for development projects to be approved. Vulnerability assessments have been completed for all critical infrastructures. Disaster risk information is routinely disseminated through the Government Information Unit and the media. An Information and Education Officer is responsible for public information campaigns and educational programs. Disaster risk education exists at both primary and secondary school level. Contingency plans are regularly rehearsed, and the general public seems prepared and ready to evacuate at all times. District Disaster Committees are responsible for plans at the community level, and response plans at all levels are generally reviewed and updated annually. Apart from community level evacuation plans, there is also an evacuation plan for the entire island: Operation Exodus. Due to the continued activity of the volcano, most plans have been tested and revised following real-life threats.

An important feature of volcanic early warning and research is the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Established in 1995 by various national and international scientists, it was designated a statutory authority of the Government of Montserrat in 1999. Since 2003, it is housed in a purpose-built Observatory 6 km north-west of the volcano. It is managed by the British Geological Survey under a contract with The Government of Montserrat. Its overall policy and objectives are determined by a Board of Directors, which is co-chaired by the Governor and the Chief Minister of the Government of Montserrat.

Source:Prevention Web/ CIA Fact Book/ Other sources: CIA World Factbook


HFA P1 - Institutional and legal framework

HFA P2 - Risk identification and EWS:

HFA P3 - Knowledge and education:

HFA P4 - Risk applications:

HFA P5 - Preparedness and response:

Laws, Policies and Programmers:

UNDP Disaster Mitigation, Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building -

Others Documents:

Assessment of the Hazards and Risks 2007 (Summary).

Main Report Volcano Activity 2007.

Technical Report 2007 Volcano.

UNDP Disaster Mitigation, Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building

Web Links

Montserrat Volcano Observatory -[1]

Government of Montserrat

Ministry of Health

Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Link Pictures of Volcano Damage


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