News Releases

The UWI-SRC receives CCRIF grant towards new equipment for monitoring La Soufrière

For Release Upon Receipt - April 16, 2021

St. Augustine

The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), located at the St. Augustine Campus, has received a grant from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) to support its monitoring efforts during the ongoing eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The $17,150 USD grant will fund equipment to strengthen the network, rebuild existing monitoring sites and provide back-up equipment for this ongoing event. As a result of this investment, new communication and ground deformation equipment will now be added to those already deployed, increasing the UWI-SRC’s capacity to understand the volcano’s eruptive processes and provide advanced warning of hazardous activity to the Vincentian population in the future. The UWI-SRC Director Dr. Erouscilla Joseph says the additional equipment will help scientists to “better monitor the volcano that caused approximately 10,000 residents to evacuate.”

La Soufrière began erupting effusively in late December 2020, with little detectable precursory activity. Since it was first observed on December 27, a new lava dome had grown steadily; encircling the dome left behind after the 1979 eruption. On April 9, 2021 the eruption entered an explosive phase, covering most of mainland Saint Vincent and neighbouring Barbados in ash. This volcano is the most active in the Eastern Caribbean chain, having erupted in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902, 1971 and 1979. The most explosive eruption during the historical period occurred in 1802, claiming an estimated 1600 lives.

Dr. Erouscilla Joseph, Director of the Seismic Research Centre expressed gratitude on behalf of her team to CCRIF for its timely intervention. This gesture is only the latest instance of collaboration involving CCRIF and the UWI-SRC who have worked together in the past on various disaster risk reduction and response projects in the region.  CCRIF was formed in 2007 to assist Caribbean governments in limiting the financial impact of devastating natural hazards. The Cayman Islands based institution offers earthquake, tropical cyclone and excess rainfall insurance policies to Caribbean and Central American governments.



Notes to the Editor

For updates on activity at La Soufrière Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, follow The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) on Facebook at and on Twitter:    


About The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC)

The Seismic Research Centre was set up in 1953 and became part of The UWI in 1962. From its headquarters in Trinidad, it operates a volcano and earthquake monitoring network throughout the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean islands extending from St. Kitts & Nevis to Trinidad & Tobago. The UWI-SRC is responsible for monitoring earthquake and volcanic activity in these islands.  The region in which these countries are located is seismically active and historically has been the site of earthquakes of magnitude greater than 8.0. There are at least 19 live volcanoes in the region, which have been the sites of numerous eruptions, most recently in Montserrat (1995-present), Dominica (1997, phreatic) and St. Vincent & the Grenadines (2020-present). The UWI-SRC currently manages the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), which is responsible for monitoring the on-going eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano.


About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 and 2019, then top 20 in 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


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