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What have been the impacts of recent volcanic eruptions in Montserrat? David Alcock May 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "What have been the impacts of recent volcanic eruptions in Montserrat? David Alcock May 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 What have been the impacts of recent volcanic eruptions in Montserrat? David Alcock May 2011

2 Why study Montserrat? [T]he epoch-making eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1995… has affected almost every facet of life in this 39.5 square mile island. Agriculture, industry, land-form, land space and its use, demography, politics, culture and the totality of society have all undergone changes of revolutionary proportions (Fergus, 2007: 9)

3 Why study Montserrat? KS3 – Geog.1 GCSE – in all specifications A-level: – Complex – Changing – Development – opportunity for discussion – Recent – Synopticity

4 Phases of volcanic activity Phase 1: Summer 1995 to the start of 1998 – Plymouth evacuated. Exclusion zone created. 19 killed Phase 2: December 1999 to Summer 2003 Phase 3: Summer 2003 to Spring 2007 Phase 4: Summer 2008 to 3 January 2009 Phase 5: 4 October 2009 to February 2010 – Largest pyroclastic flow yet – The next phase is more likely to be another short duration but high intensity event (SAC, 2010)

5 Over a half of the island is currently off limits (Hazard Level is 3 out of 5) Red= essential workers only; Green= unrestricted access Get maps from

6 Social Impacts (1) Exodus – 1995: 10,000 residents; 1999: 3,000; 2006: 5,000 Loss of economic potential; community split BUT… employment opportunities influx

7 Social Impacts (2) Some health effects – e.g. silicosis; psychological Since 19 people died in 1997, no further direct deaths. Low risk of death for most residents BUT… mostly well controlled

8 Social Impacts (3) Education – enrolment fell (1995: 2672; 1998: 620) and schools shut BUT… new secondary school, new college, new approaches

9 Economic Impacts (1) Agricultural land lost; farmers dispossessed Dependent on agricultural imports BUT… drive for self-sufficiency, and ash!

10 Economic Impacts (2) Manufacturing industry lost BUT… opportunities in the primary sector

11 Sand mining and ash processing Source: Author, 2010

12 Economic Impacts (3) Service industry suffered BUT… new capital city, cultural centre

13 Economic Impacts (4) Tourism shrank – airport and seaport lost – out-of-bounds areas – villa owners evacuated – negative travel advice given – ferry service was suspended in 2005 (numbers had risen from 4,000 in 1997 to 15,000 in 2004, but then fell to 9,500 in 2005) BUT… tourism consultancy brought in, new capital city, ferry service may return

14 A disaster – and an opportunity? Source: Author, 2010

15 Tourism target markets Destination enjoyment holidaymakers (especially villa owners and renters) Markets inspired by the volcano (volcano tours and the education market) The dive market The bird watching market The cruise market The yachting market The market for day visits, short breaks and events Sports tourism (football and cricket) The Montserrat diaspora Source: Team Tourism (2007)

16 Economic Impacts (5) Energy – reliance on diesel Most renewable sources are unsuitable or poorly funded BUT… geothermal opportunities at Delvins (see map)

17 Proposed location of geothermal power plant is in Zone C (controlled access) Red= essential workers only; Green= unrestricted access Get maps from

18 Environmental Impacts (1) Ash BUT… long-term benefits?

19 Environmental Impacts (2) Rainforest – approximately a third was destroyed Ash (again!) BUT…its natural!

20 Environmental Impacts (3) Feral pigs, goats, cattle and donkeys are dramatically increasing in number – Damaging native plants and animals – Spreading exotic species – Soil erosion – Agricultural damage – Water pollution – Attacks on walkers BUT…research undertaken and possible solutions tried Source: Author, 2010

21 Self-sufficiency and sustainable development 2008/9: annual aid budget from UK: £16.4m How much per resident (in 2006)? Some aid from EU Some parts of Sustainable Development Plan aim for a degree of self- sufficiency; some aspects have been delivered Construction of new capital city: Little Bay

22 Little Bay – new capital by 2020? Get images from: (planners of Little Bay development) or

23 ...But the pace of change is slow: Get images from: (planners of Little Bay development)

24 Strategic Goals of the Montserrat Sustainable Development Plan, Economic Management: An environment that fosters prudent economic management, sustained growth, a diversified economy and the generation of employment opportunities Human Development: Enhanced human development and improved quality of life for all people on Montserrat Environmental Management and Disaster Mitigation: Montserrats natural resources conserved within a system of environmentally sustainable development and appropriate strategies for disaster mitigation Governance: An efficient, responsive and accountable system of governance and public service Population: A sustainable population Source: Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Government of Montserrat (no date)

25 Will Montserrat rise from the ashes? Initial shock has passed Volcano shows few signs of ceasing its activity soon Impact is profound and long-lasting Difficult journey to self-sufficiency The residents of this little island have enough strength and perseverance to tame the powerfully destructive effects of their big volcano – perhaps the biggest challenge will be an economic one

26 Acknowledgements Dr Caroline Neuberg, Prof Jurgen Neuberg, Seismic Schools Initiative, the Royal Society, interviewees on the island 2012 visit? Two key references: Contact me:

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