Montserrat Case Study

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The island of Montserrat, located in the eastern part of the Caribbean suffered from a volcanic dome collapse on the 20th of July 1999. This collapse devastated the island, causing destruction to two-thirds of the human settled areas on the south side of the island. While this event is volcanic in nature, it’s not an eruption and therefore not classified as a volcanic disaster. This resulted from the way the local government enacted emergency plans. There was a planned exclusion zone surrounding the volcano and there was a mass evacuation in this area that prevented human loss. They exhibited great human resilience at this time, especially complicated by the fact that the island was still in recovery mode from previous volcanic incidents. The…show more content…
Zones that have potential for hazards such as volcanos are categorized in one of three zones: high, intermediate or low hazard. When planning for new land use probability assessments must be conducted to determine if the land is at significant risk from associated hazards. Although there was land use planning being conducted in Montserrat, all of the changes had not been put into practice. Areas had been appropriately zoned starting in the summer of 1997, and evacuation plans were in place (these worked during the disaster). However, plans for new housing and fixing the existing volcanic observatory had not happened at the time of the disaster. Less than a year before the disaster, in the fall of 1998 there were only 105 houses built of the planned 255. In order to manage areas that are at risk for volcanic eruptions, danger mapping is helpful. According to Oliver-Smith, “Three degrees of peril are characterized and are spoken to by the hues red, blue and yellow. They show the level of risk to individuals, creatures, and property. The degrees of peril are at first allowed by outcomes for development action: zones, where structures are not permitted, are red, demonstrating a high risk; regions where building must take after wellbeing necessities are blue, showing a potential risk; and zones without building confinements are yellow”

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