News Releases

UWI sends task force to assist Dominica after Tropical Storm Erika

For Release Upon Receipt - September 2, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. September 2, 2015 – The University of the West Indies stands ready to assist Dominica in recovering from the damage sustained by the impact of Tropical Storm Erika.    

A cross-functional task force led by University Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Wayne Hunte, is expected to go to the island to provide technical disaster management support. The UWI team of experts comprising geo-technical engineers, public health and environmental and water resource will work closely with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has written Prime Minister, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit indicating that in addition to deploying two of The University’s top persons in each of these fields, The UWI is prepared to lend the resources of Research Fellow, Mr Jeremy Collymore, who is also a former Executive Director of the CDEMA. 

The storm, which first hit the island of Dominica on August 27, resulted in severe flooding, landslides and widespread damage across the island. The following day, 20 persons were confirmed dead and since, more have been reported missing according to a briefing from Prime Minister Skerrit.  

Expressing his condolences to the Government and people of Dominica, Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “The people of the Commonwealth of Dominica are known for their resilience. They are the carriers of an indomitable spirit inherited from the past that finds resonance in very citizen. The UWI community recognises this determination to prosper and stands with every soul during this trying moment. As we all facilitate their emergence form this tragedy Dominica and its dedicated Prime Minister and government will know that their friends are all around them, and that their UWI has their back." 

Director of The UWI’s Open Campus Country Sites in Dominica, Dr Francis Severin reassured students in Dominica who are apprehensive about the commencement of the Academic Year 2015/2016. “We are making every effort to address their academic concerns.” He added, “We know the distress that our students must feel, not to mention the disruption in their lives and their own personal losses. We are attempting to ascertain the impact on our students and would sincerely appreciate that they contact us, if possible, to tell us about themselves and fellow students.”  


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:  

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)