Saturday, March 24, 2012

Force of Nature in Action

On Monday, the 19th, we went ashore to find our taxi driver, Cecile, and saw that two Slovenians and an American were already seated in the taxi. We took off, and Cecile gave some information about the volcano, which devastated the old town called Plymouth. We passed through a check point where a policeman was taking the names of the visitors. Cecile mentioned that the authorities sometimes closed the entrance, at times of rain or increased volcanic activity, but today was our lucky day. When we entered the area covered with ash, it was such a sad sight to see many nice buildings with burned rooftops, still standing but buried halfway in gray ash and stones. Cecile then took us to the remains of a hotel, which took the brunt of the downpour. The reception area was full of muddy ash, but the small adjoining office still had the desks, covered with papers, visa receipts, calculator rolls strewn about in ash, old files and supplies in open drawers, still standing. The outside swimming pool filled to the rim by ash. It was such a dramatic sight, which showed life stopping in one instant by the force of nature. Somebody mentioned the fury of God unleashed on the sinners. I think not, that would imply a cause and effect for a random phenomenon. It is also malicious to label the poor people affected by it as sinners.

Cecile told us that ninety people had died during the catastrophe, since the volcano gave enough warning before the eruption. The only people harmed were the ones who tried to go back to their homes to salvage property.

Cecile further mentioned that Montserrat started to use and sell the ash to be used in construction. Maybe some good will come out of a disaster after all.

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