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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Ash rains down on Montserrat
Helicopter in Montserrat
Montserrat was devastated by the eruptions
The dome of the volcano on Montserrat has collapsed, sending ash and rocks hurtling down onto the Caribbean island.

The clouds of dust have spread across a wide area, causing flights to several Caribbean destinations to be cancelled.

The explosions which rocked the Soufriere hills volcano sent ash up to 12,200 metres (40,000 feet) into the air.

The debris mainly fell outside the "safe zone" to where most of the island's residents retreated after a 1995 eruption which devastated the British territory.

There are no confirmed reports of injuries so far. However water and power supplies have been disrupted.

"There's no-one in the area right now but as a precaution we're asking people in surrounding areas to stay indoors. There's still a chance of more explosions and rock fall," said Richard Herd, director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

The explosions were accompanied by heavy rain, leaving the island's roads coated in a thick layer of mud.

The volcano last erupted in 1997 destroying many southern areas including the capital, Plymouth.

The massive eruption by the long dormant volcano two years earlier caused about half the population to leave the island.


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