The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Gareth Thomas)
Further to the Statement on 17 July 2003,Official Report, column 86WS by my Hon. Friend the Minister of State for International Development, DFID has 42WS continued to work closely with the Montserratian authorities to alleviate the impact upon the island community of the volcanic activity in Montserrat between 12 and 14 July. This had involved substantial volcanic ashfalls throughout the island. We and regional donors made immediate assistance available for procurement of emergency ash masks, medical and drinking water supplies, ash clearing equipment and other materials. The Government of Montserrat have since worked quickly and effectively, with our support, to clear ash from most roads and public facilities (schools, hospital etc). However, because the scale of the ashing has been far greater than previously experienced in Montserrat, we are currently helping Montserrat to assess costs and requirements of substantial work needed to complete the clean-up.