Monday, June 25, 2007

Montserrat update: June 25, 1997, ten years on

Today is the tenth anniversary of the volcanic dome collapse of June 25, 1997, in which by official count nineteen lost their lives here.

As the Chief Minister, Dr Lowell Lewis, noted on radio just this morning, many of those lives were lost because an Airport in an obviously dangerous situation, was kept open because no proper alternative was available. (Indeed, the first scientists' account describes how a chartered plane carrying the then Governor was on the tarmac when the devastating flows came down, and had to gun its engines, and run for its life! Similarly, a Texaco gasoline tanker in port Plymouth, on realising the dangerous events in progress, cut the hoses to the tank farm in the designated unsafe zone -- which was still in use after two years of crisis -- and ran for its life, too.)

Let us all reflect soberly and prayerfully on the hazards we face as a region, and let us promise before God that those who died so horribly and needlessly that day will not have died in vain.

So, as Montserrat now moves on to rebuilding and redevelopment, let us renew our commitment to truly sustainable development of our region under God. END

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