Brades, Montserrat, July 20, 2007 (Emergency Policy Group) - The Emergency Policy Group (EPG) met this morning to consider the interim assessment of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) on the hazards and risks associated with the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The report was issued on 19 July 2007.
The EPG accepted the findings of the SAC that risks have reduced following a period of little activity at the surface of the volcano and agreed that residents from the February 15, 2007 evacuation can return to their homes full time from tomorrow, Saturday 21 July.
The areas are north of the line running from a point commencing on Old Road Bluff and running eastwards along Loblolly Lane, through to Isles Bay plantation and continuing north-westwards to Lower Happy Hill and Lower Friths.
Other areas south of this line, including Isles Bay Hill, would have similar access to that which pertains at present. This is 7 am to 4 pm access on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on application to Salem Police Station.
The EPG would further review the evacuation boundaries at a later date.
All returning residents must be aware that although the risks have reduced, the hazards from the dome remain, therefore, should there be an increase in volcanic activity and / or the imminent threat of a storm or a hurricane they must be prepared to move north at short notice.
The SAC's interim assessment can be seen on line at http://www.mvo.ms