Consequences of long-term volcanic activity for essential services in Montserrat: challenges, adaptations and resilience
Published:January 01, 2014
V. Sword-Daniels, T. M. Wilson, S. Sargeant, T. Rossetto, J. Twigg, D. M. Johnston, S. C. Loughlin, P. D. Cole, 2014. "Consequences of long-term volcanic activity for essential services in Montserrat: challenges, adaptations and resilience", The Eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010, G. Wadge, R. E. A. Robertson, B. Voight
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Long-term volcanic activity at Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV), Montserrat (1995–ongoing) has created challenges for society and the resilience of the essential services (infrastructure) that support it. This paper explores the consequences, adaptations and resilience of essential services through interviews with their staff. We find that quick fixes for essential service reinstatement in the north of Montserrat have prevailed. Yet, the legacy of this approach inhibits functionality through inadequate facilities and the perception of sites as temporary, stalling investment. Emigration resulted in staff shortages, retraining requirements and challenges for the viability of specialist services. Low-impact hazards exacerbate shortcomings in essential services, causing power cuts, corrosion, and temporary closures of schools, clinics and the airport. Adaptations developed over time include changes to roofing materials, the addition of back-up systems, collaborative working and the development of contingency plans. Resilience of essential services has improved through decentralization, adaptations, and via strong community networks and tolerance of disruptions. Barriers to increasing resilience include the expense of some adaptations and the current reluctance to invest in essential services, hindering development. We offer some lessons for policy and practice to guide post-crisis redevelopment, through engagement with the community and by complementing community-level adaptations with investment to address long-term needs.
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The Eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010
The 1995 to present eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat is one of the most important and best-studied eruptions of an explosive andesitic volcano. This volume presents scientific findings from the period between 2000 and 2010; it follows on from Memoir 21, which focused on the early years of activity between 1995 and 1999. In addition to descriptions and analysis of the growth, collapse and explosions associated with lava domes, there are papers on the deformation of the volcano caused by the deep magma, the petrology and geochemistry of the lavas and associated gases. Of particular note are: an overview of the insights into the deep structure of the volcano that resulted from a major international seismic tomography experiment; and an analysis of the quantitative risk assessment process that has run now for most of the eruption, the longest such continuous assessment in the world.