Flashback July 18, 1995

by Bennette Roach

Immediate days after July 18 95 this was the scene, with gas and fumes, visible from Long Ground and vicinity

Twenty four years ago last night thousands of people living on Montserrat would have heard what they thought was the unusual sound of a jet plane flying over Montserrat only moments later, or to wake up the next morning, to learn that the – what? the volcano was acting up.

On the night of July 18, 1995, (it was a Tuesday night, not a Thursday as you may have read previously) residents not far away from Soufriere Hills could hear what they later described as roaring sounds like those that come from jet planes, and it was soon realised by all that a volcano that lay in waiting at English Crater in Soufriere Hills had come alive. Strange, of course, jet planes did not normally fly over Montserrat, and at night?

Soon after from several and continuous radio broadcasts in the following days, and interviews from volcanologists, scientists, the Governor, Frank Savage and the Chief Minister, Reuben Meade and the offices of the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC), we were to learn that there has always been this volcano, that there have been activities at approximately 30 – 35 year intervals since the turn of this century; that there has been studies, one as recent as the mid 80s, which suggested that there will be serious activities around this time.

First accommodation for evacuees from the south and eastern half of Montserrat – tents at Gerald’s Park, which today hosts the now permanent airport

Now 24 years later, Montserrat has certainly not recovered from near extinction, and today it is still not known that there are those among the authorities (powers that be) who do not believe that this is still not a possibility from the volcano. That thought or belief has been the hindrance of any honest and serious effort to develop the north of Montserrat into normal lives for the residents.

It certainly has been the cause of much ‘confusion’ since that belief had never been admitted until 2008, when it was revealed that the time had come to move forward.

June 25, 1997 will be long remembered as the worst day of the volcano (I hope), because lives were lost. And the question that is still being asked, “Could this have been avoided?” An answer which can only come from honest and sincere dialogue, may just change the course of stagnation that has set it since reality sought and understood removed hindrances in 2008.

See: related: Editorial –  July 19, 2019

Volcano Observatory.

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by Bennette Roach

Immediate days after July 18 95 this was the scene, with gas and fumes, visible from Long Ground and vicinity

Twenty four years ago last night thousands of people living on Montserrat would have heard what they thought was the unusual sound of a jet plane flying over Montserrat only moments later, or to wake up the next morning, to learn that the – what? the volcano was acting up.

On the night of July 18, 1995, (it was a Tuesday night, not a Thursday as you may have read previously) residents not far away from Soufriere Hills could hear what they later described as roaring sounds like those that come from jet planes, and it was soon realised by all that a volcano that lay in waiting at English Crater in Soufriere Hills had come alive. Strange, of course, jet planes did not normally fly over Montserrat, and at night?

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Soon after from several and continuous radio broadcasts in the following days, and interviews from volcanologists, scientists, the Governor, Frank Savage and the Chief Minister, Reuben Meade and the offices of the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC), we were to learn that there has always been this volcano, that there have been activities at approximately 30 – 35 year intervals since the turn of this century; that there has been studies, one as recent as the mid 80s, which suggested that there will be serious activities around this time.

First accommodation for evacuees from the south and eastern half of Montserrat – tents at Gerald’s Park, which today hosts the now permanent airport

Now 24 years later, Montserrat has certainly not recovered from near extinction, and today it is still not known that there are those among the authorities (powers that be) who do not believe that this is still not a possibility from the volcano. That thought or belief has been the hindrance of any honest and serious effort to develop the north of Montserrat into normal lives for the residents.

It certainly has been the cause of much ‘confusion’ since that belief had never been admitted until 2008, when it was revealed that the time had come to move forward.

June 25, 1997 will be long remembered as the worst day of the volcano (I hope), because lives were lost. And the question that is still being asked, “Could this have been avoided?” An answer which can only come from honest and sincere dialogue, may just change the course of stagnation that has set it since reality sought and understood removed hindrances in 2008.

See: related: Editorial –  July 19, 2019

Volcano Observatory.