Severe volcanic activity, which began in july 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. a catastrophic eruption in june 1997 closed the airports and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. some began to return in 1998, but lack of housing limited the number. the agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. the uk has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.
Land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation
5,079 note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in july 1995; some have returned (july 2008 est.)
Caribbean, island in the caribbean sea, southeast of puerto rico
Total: 102 sq km land: 102 sq km water: 0 sq km
About 0.6 times the size of washington, dc
Conventional long form: none conventional short form: montserrat
Name: plymouth geographic coordinates: 16 42 n, 62 13 w time difference: utc-4 (1 hour ahead of washington, dc during standard time) note: plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at brades estate in the carr's bay/little bay vicinity at the northwest end of montserrat