News Releases

UWI unites Caribbean Seismic Agencies

For Release Upon Receipt - April 3, 2008

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has facilitated an agreement among several seismic monitoring agencies from the Caribbean, Central and South America to share and contribute data to a regional warning centre, a critical step towards making a regional tsunami warning system (TWS) a reality.

The agreement came out of the second meeting of Regional Seismic Network Operators (RSNO2), which recently took place at the university’s St. Augustine campus in Trinidad and Tobago, hosted by the UWI SRU. Funded by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the meeting brought together eighteen participants from throughout the Caribbean basin.

Following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004, scientists, disaster planners and other stakeholders in the Caribbean Basin have been working towards the establishment of a TWS under the coordination of the Intergovernmental Oceanic Committee (IOC) of the United Nations. The UWI Seismic Research Unit (SRU), which monitors earthquakes and volcanoes in most of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean islands, has been involved in the regional TWS project from its inception.

The Caribbean Basin has an extensive network of seismic monitoring agencies which have varying capacities and areas of responsibility. Taken collectively, the seismological services currently provided by these agencies cover the entire region. The adequate coordination and collaboration of these agencies are critical if an efficient TWS is to become a reality. Therefore, participants at RSNO2 collectively recognised the need for national governments to ensure that existing seismological networks are provided with the resources required for sustainability.

Participants also supported the establishment of a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Centre (CTWC), to support local and national tsunami focal points that have been established in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The UWI Seismic Research Unit was among five agencies being considered as possible candidates to coordinate the CTWC. The capacity for data sharing has markedly increased since the 1st RSNO meeting in 2006 largely due to an increase in training and use of common protocols and technology amongst seismological organisations in the Caribbean Basin.

For more information about the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Centre or the regional tsunami warning system, please contact Stacey Edwards at or (Tel) 868 662 4659 or (Fax) 663 9293.



The University of the West Indies (UWI) is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.