Bells to Ring Today in Memory of the 19 Lost in Volcanic Eruption

Paul Cole Photo of the June 25 1997 eruption. (MVO Photo)
Paul Cole Photo of the June 25 1997 eruption. (MVO Photo)

BRADES – Bells around the island will ring today in memory of the residents who died from a volcanic eruption here almost 20 years ago.

On June 25th 1997 at 12:55PM, the Soufriere Hills Volcano experienced a dome collapse of the crater. According to archived reports*, “in the following 25 minutes, a series of devastating flows swept the northern flanks of the volcano, down Mosquito Ghaut and followed the Paradise River almost to the sea. The flows and associated surge clouds damaged or destroyed between 100 to 150 houses, with the villages of Streatham, Dyers, Harris, Bethel, Bramble, Trants, Farms and Spanish Point being severely affected. At the time of writing 8 people are confirmed dead, and a further 11 are missing. Five people also suffered serious burns.”

Later 19 people were confirmed dead from the pyroclastic flows, which were the largest produced during the eruption cycle. The intensity of the activity exceeded that of the explosion of 17 September 1996, scientists said. “An estimated 4 to 5 million cubic metres of the lava dome were unloaded during the event, and the flows and surges covered an area of 4 square kilometres. An ash cloud rose to about 10 km, and ash fell over western Montserrat.”

At 12:55 pm today, Thursday June 25, 2015, all the church bells on island will ring 20 times, 19 times for each person who died and once for unknown persons who may have died.

Alwin Allen, 44, a livestock farmer, died in Farms.
• Winston Allen, 41, chauffeur and livestock farmer, died in Farms.
• Benjamin / Joseph Brown, 71, a farmer, died in the central area of Montserrat.
• Felina Celestine, 45, a farmer, died in Farrells.
• Melville Cuffy, 39, a farm worker, died in Farrells.
• Beryl Grant, 73, farmer and huckster, died in Harris.
• Edith Greenaway, 69, resident, died at her home in Streathams.
• Joseph Greenaway, 62, resident, died at his home in Windy Hill.
• Mary Bernardine Harris, 44, resident, died at her home in Farms.
• Alicia Joseph, 23, resident, died at her home in Farms.
• Allister Joseph, 3-months, died with his mother in Farms.
• Isolyn Lewis, 43, a farmer, died in Farrells.
• Chana Rueben Boatswaine / Horrance Murraine, 66, airport worker, died in Farms.
• Keithley Ponde, 32, a farmer, died in Farrells.
• Hezekiah Riley, age unknown, described as mentally unstable, died at his home in Streathams.
• Phillip Robinson, 66, a farmer, died in Streathams.
• Anthony Sutton, 72, resident, died at his home in Farms.
• Virginia Sutton, 70, resident, died at her home in Farms.
• Joseph / Simon Tuitt / White, 45, airport worker, died in Farms.

The Montserrat Reporter –19 June 2015 – As We Remember June 25, 1997

The public is asked to observe a moment of silence for those who were lost that day. ZJB Radio Montserrat will carry the observance ceremony on www.zjb.gov.ms/listen .

*Source: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/west.indies/soufriere/govt/specrep/specrep03.html

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