The new procedure to ensure a clear and transparent process for access to Zone V for tourism purposes will come into full effect Monday, 14 June 2023.
The June 1st start date was pushed back to ensure a smooth and successful transition process which includes the employment of access wardens, a standardized tour fee, an online tour request form for all excursions to Zone V (Plymouth) and a shift system for tours.
Five Access Wardens have been selected through the Government of Montserrat Insync HR Candidate Shortlisting process that best meets the requirements and criteria for the job. A total of eight individuals submitted applications.
A one-week training will be held with the selected individuals starting Monday, 5 June 2023, before taking up their duties.
The Tour Request Form for access to Zone V is now available on the DMCA website: http://dmca.gov.ms/. The form is at the top of the webpage on the right-hand side so it’s visible immediately.
A fee of $160 dollars will be charged for each tour to Plymouth and paid at the DMCA office on Yellow Hill Road. Certified Tour Operators are required to complete a Tour Application Request Form twenty-four hours before their scheduled trip to Plymouth.
The DMCA will only process applications submitted by trained and certified Tour and Taxi operators on Montserrat for tours to Zone V.
The Government of Montserrat has approved the Hurricane Risk Reduction & Resilience Drive in preparation for the 2023 hurricane season. Through exemption from customs duty and importation tax on the importation of critical hurricane preparedness items, local businesses and homes can strengthen their infrastructural resilience against the effects of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Until the expiration of the programme on September 30, 2023 businesses and homes can import, duty free – generators, change over switches, purpose-built or readymade storm shutters, chainsaws and saw blades for metal or wood, wood mulchers / wood chippers, portable or mounted flood lights and solar lights, first aid and or trauma kits, screwdrivers, hammers, spanner, sockets, measuring tapes, pliers, utility knives, spirit levels, torch lights, clamps, gloves and protective eyewear.
Persons seeking to import items under the exemption programme should refer to SRO 13 of 2023 via www.gov.ms for complete details of all instructions and conditions applying to the exemptions.
Cabinet has approved a proposal to improve access to Zone V (Plymouth) for tourism starting Friday, 1 June 2023.
The Montserrat Cabinet gave its nod on April 27th, 2023, to ensure a clear and transparent process for access to the exclusion zone for tourism purposes.
The new proposal involves the establishment of Access Wardens to provide controlled entry for all tour operators entering Plymouth under the direct supervision of the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA). The DMCA is the government entity designated by the Governor and the National Disaster Preparedness Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) to manage and coordinate all Access to Zone V as the Soufriere Hills Volcano remains active.
The DMCA is recruiting five (5) Access Wardens to work in the Exclusion Zone on a shift basis from Monday to Sunday and also on holidays.
Residents interested in being Access Wardens can submit their application to the Human Resources Management Unit (HRMU) by Friday, 26 May 2023.
A fee of $160 dollars will be charged for each tour to Plymouth and must be paid at the DMCA office on Yellow Hill Road.
Certified Tour Operators are required to complete a Tour Application Request Form twenty-four hours prior to their scheduled trip to Plymouth.
The form is free of charge and will be available on the DMCA and GOM websites and at the DMCA office.
The DMCA will only process applications submitted by trained and certified Tour and Taxi operators on Montserrat.
According to an Air Quality Alert issued by the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services, the air quality is down to moderate levels as a result of particulate matters 2.5 and 10, associated with a fresh surge in the Saharan Dust. The threat of health problems is elevated, for mainly unusually sensitive people, such as asthmatics, and could potentially cause limited health impacts.
Therefore, active children and adults, and, people with respiratory diseases such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) is advising residents who are unusually sensitive to dust particles to be vigilant, due to moderate concentrations of Saharan dust in the atmosphere! Residents with respiratory issues such as asthma should keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
The DMCA is further advising residents to limit dust entering their system as best as possible by using masks and protective eyewear. Any masks that filter small particles should be worn such as a surgical mask, N95 and KN95 when going outside.
Air quality index: 51 to 70
Alert Level: II
Sensitive groups: People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk.
Health implications: Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants, there may be moderate health concerns for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Continue to monitor DMCA Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media sites and our website http://dmca.gov.ms for daily weather updates, public advisories and warnings and information on the wide range of natural and man-made hazards that have the potential to impact Montserrat.
Commanding Officer of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force (RMDF), Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Ryan, along with nine members of the RMDF are currently in the United Kingdom to represent Montserrat in the Coronation Parade for His Majesty King Charles III and the Queen Consort.
The RMDF will participate in the coronation procession of His Majesty King Charles III on May 6.
The Coronation Ceremony will see His Majesty The King crowned alongside The Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey in London, by the Archbishop of Canterbury at 11 am. Lieutenant Colonel Ryan, is also the director of the Disaster Management Coordination Agency.
In 2022, Commanding Officer Alvin Ryan created history by being the first officer to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Montserrat Defence Force (RMDF).
“The RMPS continue to vigorously investigate the disappearance of Ms Mary Bruno last seen in Look Out on the 23rd of October 2022.
Ms Bruno is a black female, aged 74 years, wearing a green blouse and blue skirt at the time of her disappearance.
The RMPS is very grateful for the support of the RMDF, Montserrat Fire Service, & DMCA who continue to provide expertise and staffing to conduct ground searches in pertinent areas.
Given the specialist nature of such work, the UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund, under the FCDO, has sourced help from the UK National Search Centre.
This week the Centre deployed Chief Inspector Mark Sweeney & Sergeant Mike Spencer to Montserrat to assist in the operation.
Chief Inspector Sweeney and Sergeant Spencer have been working with local officers and staff on the ground. This has included the searching of undergrowth, the deployment of drones, and searching from the waterside.
Commissioner of Police Nick Caveney commented “I am committed to Ms Bruno’s family that we will enlist the highest level of specialism and support to help us resolve this difficult case. Having support from UK National Search Centre officers bolsters our resources and enables further training for our team here, ensuring our already strong capability fully meets international standards. I believe someone in the Look Out area will have seen something when Ms Bruno went missing on the 23rd of October 2022 that could be useful and I now renew our appeal to the people of Montserrat to help us in our search by providing any relevant information they may have”.
Should any member of the public have any relevant information about this case, please contact the RMPS at 664-491-2555 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source and photo credit: Royal Montserrat Police Service
Yellow Hill Montserrat, Thursday, 23 March 2023 – The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) conducted a tsunami simulation exercise on Thursday, 23 March 2023, at Isle Bay to strengthen tsunami preparedness along Montserrat coasts.
The activity formed part of CARIBEWAVE, a tsunami exercise held annually in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands under the direction of UNESCO and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The tsunami simulation exercise was based, on a tsunami occurring, at the beach generated by an underwater earthquake where fifteen students and their teacher, Triscia Meade of the Montserrat Secondary School Form 3 Geography Class were having a field trip.
During the exercise conducted in real-time, the teacher observed the natural warning signs of an impending tsunami and informed the Montserrat Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) via 911 of what the class had observed. The MFRS then notified the DMCA, and the sirens were sounded.
The students and their teacher analyzed the tsunami warning signs observed and took action by evacuating to higher ground as quickly as possible to an area on Isle Bay Hill designated as the Muster Point, and a physical head count was conducted.
The simulation tsunami exercise tested some aspects of the Montserrat warning and emergency communication system.
Director of the DMCA Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Ryan highlighted that the simulation exercise was a resounding success. He applauded the level of coordination and readiness displayed by all DMCA staff, the Montserrat Fire and Rescue Service, the teacher and the students.
Lieutenant Colonel Ryan expressed that the exercise has helped the DMCA to identify areas where the agency could improve its response and strengthen coordination protocols for any tsunami threat.
Tsunami Simulation exercises are critical to test the DMCA response plans to maintain adequate emergency preparedness, especially in areas where tsunamis can have a very high impact.
Montserrat has had tsunami events in the past generated by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, and due to its geographical location in a seismically active area, some of the island’s coasts are vulnerable to tsunamis triggered by distant sources. There have been three (3) occasions when collapses of the dome at the Soufrière Hills entered the sea and generated tsunamis on Montserrat. They are the December 26, 1997 collapse in White River valley that generated a small tsunami in Old Road Bay and the collapses on July 13, 2003 and on May 20, 2006, that, generated wave heights around the Tar River Valley up to 6-8 metres. These tsunamis were very localized and would not have been seen at other locations.
A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake, volcanoes, or landslides, and can occur at any time of the year, day or night, but they are not very common (occurring approximately once per year). Tsunamis have claimed lives, demolished homes and destroyed communities across the world. In the past 100 years, 58 tsunamis have killed more than 260,000 people, higher than any other natural hazard.
The objectives of the CARIBEWAVE Exercise are to test and evaluate the operations of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning System, to validate preparedness response to a tsunami, and the use of the (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center enhanced tsunami products for the Caribbean, as well as assist in tsunami preparedness efforts of the emergency management agencies in those areas.
Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Ryan, Director of the Montserrat Disaster Management Coordination Agency, and Mr. Glenn Francis, Director of the Montserrat Red Cross will join other technical officers from across the region at a hybrid workshop in Saint Lucia from 21-22 March 2023, with the ultimate objective of mainstreaming the human security approach in disaster displacement and environmental migration policies in Montserrat and other OECS countries.
Lieutenant Colonel Ryan says “the actual threats that people struggle with following a natural disaster are similar to those of a man-made crisis such as armed conflict. Human security provides an alternative, human-centred perspective that focuses on securing and protecting individuals’ freedom from want and freedom from fear. Therefore, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a human security approach included in our national policies on disaster displacement and environmental migration.”
Participants at the workshop will be working to validate preliminary assessments of the extent to which the human security approach is included in national policies on disaster displacement and environmental migration and contribute to recommending ways to achieve greater integration of this people-centred approach.
Recognizing that climate change is causing increasingly severe weather events, and that we live in a volcanic and seismically active region, participants will also discuss best practices related to the cross-border movement of people affected by disasters in the OECS. These practices consider how complex hazards threaten the survival, livelihood and dignity of community members, particularly those who are most vulnerable when they are forced to move.
Cross-border evacuation protocols will also be discussed to better plan for the possibility of an increase in international movements derived from disasters and the role that the different actors play in accompanying these processes to ensure more effective outcomes for the people affected.
The human security approach goes beyond quick responses and is prevention oriented. By drilling down to determine the real causes of complex challenges (economic, health, personal, community, and political threats) that might confront people who are displaced internally, or forced to migrate because of disasters, and by building solutions that protect and empower the most vulnerable community, the project aims to systematize solutions through which affected individuals can feel more secure to move on with their lives.
The 21-22 March 2023 workshop will be hosted by the IOM in partnership with the donor – UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). Other contributing stakeholders include the OECS Commission, the UN Resident Coordinator Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Platform for Disaster Displacement (PDD).
The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) has observed Sargassum Seaweed along the shorelines in Carr’s Bay, Little Bay and Marguerita Bay, and some of it was being washed ashore.
The stagnating seaweed is giving off hydrogen sulphide, and residents should not be concerned by the attendant stench in the affected areas.
Citizens, returning Montserratians, tourists, and all mariners are urged to be vigilant and exercise caution when on the beaches and avoid swimming into the Sargassum Seaweed when venturing out into the water.
Insects and jellyfish may be present in the Sargassum Seaweed, which could sting beachgoers. Therefore, swimmers should take extra care and the necessary precautions.
Sargassum is a genus of large brown seaweed (a type of algae) that floats in island-like masses.
DMCA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as deemed necessary in collaboration with the Fisheries Unit.
Spear and Shoreline Fishers are advised to be cautious and vigilant when venturing onto affected reefs and coastlines as powerful waves can put your life at risk.
Locations to be affected: Reefs and exposed northeast coastlines with relatively shallow, gently to moderately.
Timing: Until Monday.
sloping, nearshore areas.
According to the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services, Moderate long-period swells are reaching the area and are affecting mainly the northern coastlines. The threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those using the affected coastlines is moderate and will likely rise to high in 36 hours. These swells could cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents on affected coastlines. A high surf advisory means that dangerous surfs of 2 to 3 metres or 6 to 10 feet will affect some coastlines in the advisory area, producing hazardous conditions.
Seas (significant wave heights): 1.5 to 3.0 metres (5 to 10 feet), occasionally or locally reaching near 4.0 metres (13 feet). Swell period: 10 to 15 seconds. Swells: North at 1.5 to 3.0 metres (5 to 10 feet) and occasionally higher.
Surfs (breaking swells): Over 2 metres (over 6 feet). These conditions are conducive for dangerous rip currents. Please note that surfs could be as much as twice the height of swells, depending on the bathymetry of the nearshore areas.
Coastal flooding: High tides combined with onshore wind and swell actions could result in localized coastal flooding and beach erosion.
Potential Impacts: Loss of life–strong currents that can carry even the strongest swimmers out to sea; injuries to beachgoers; beach erosion; sea water splashing onto low-lying coastal roads; beach closures; localized disruptions to marine recreation and businesses; financial losses; damage to coral reefs; saltwater intrusion and disruptions to potable water from desalination. High surfs can knock spectators off exposed rocks and jetties.
Precautionary: Beachgoers, especially to the mainly affected coastlines, should be extremely cautious; bathe only where lifeguards are present or on the sheltered, less affected beaches, mainly to the south. Extreme caution is also required by those using the affected non-beach or rocky coastlines.
Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near structures such as groins, jetties and piers. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don`t swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.
Residents should continue to monitor the website and social media profiles of the Disaster Management Coordination (DMCA) for official weather forecasts, alerts, warnings and cancellations and information on the wide range of natural and man-made hazards that have the potential to impact Montserrat.