Despite renewed volcano activity, Montserrat is 'open for business'

The dome atop Montserrats Soufriere Hills Volcano collapsed on May 20, sending volcanic debris cascading down its eastern flanks into the Caribbean. Billowing clouds of ash shot more than 10 miles into the sky, according to reports.

There were no injuries on Montserrat, but the decreased visibility from the ash cloud cancelled numerous flights on May 21 between islands in the region and also to and from the Caribbean and Miami, New York, San Juan and Toronto.

According to a statement on the Montserrat Tourist Boards Web site [www.visitmontserrat.com], the island is open for business.

We would like the traveling public to know that Montserrat remains open for visitors and is still safe to visit, according to Ernestine Cassell, director of tourism for the Montserrat Tourist Board. Tourism businesses in the north are fully operational and most establishments in the affected areas should be back to normal in the next week.

The dome had been building since last August and formed the highest part of the 3,000-foot volcano.

The Soufriere Hills Volcano sprang to life in 1995. A second eruption in 1997 buried much of the islands southern half, including the capital of Plymouth.

Southern Montserrat remains an exclusion zone, and the 5,000 people who now live in Montserrat reside in the north.

For further information, visit the Montserrat Tourist Boards Web site at www.visitmontserrat.com; for updates on volcanic activity, visit the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Web site at www.mvo.ms.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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