The disaster is over because it shows no sign of stopping

This is Montserrat:

It has a problem. In 1995, a volcano became active on the island.

This is the old capital:

This is the map of the island. The green part is where people can live:

Back when this happened, a great many of the residents got the bright idea of getting off the island. They applied for asylum in the US. We granted.

But recently the Department of Homeland Security has told the refugees to get ready to go home. Has the volcano stopped erupting? Nope.

It declared that volcanic eruptions are “not likely to cease in the foreseeable future. Therefore it no longer constitutes a temporary disruption of living conditions that temporarily prevents Montserrat from adequately handling the return of its nationals.”

Translation: We are asshats.

“The fact is, temporary protected status is not meant to be a permanent solution,” said William Strassberger, a spokesman for the government agency.

As an example, he points to the fact that Bosnians returned home after the war in the former Yugoslavia, and other foreign nationals have always returned after the crisis in question abated.


Report for the period midday 6 August to midday 13 August 2004

Activity at Soufrière Hills Volcano remained at a low level throughout the reporting period. The seismic network recorded 1 hybrid earthquake and 3 rockfalls. No long-period events or volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded.

Measurements of sulphur dioxide emissions during the reporting period varied between 126 tonnes per day and 296 tonnes per day and averaged about 200 tonnes per day. These values are lower than the long-term eruption average of about 500 tonnes per day.

Granted, it doesn’t appear that it’s still spewing lava, but tons of sulphur dioxide in air can’t be good. And it appears that it’s not like it couldn’t go off at any time.

Hey, it’s all part of our kindler, gentler conservatism.