Amid the series of eruptions from the La Soufrière volcano in April 2021, parts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and neighbouring islands were blanketed in ash and smoke.
Scientists from the Seismic Research Centre (UWI- SRC) had been deployed since December 2020, when volcanic activity was first detected. Teams on rotation conducted monitoring and their science data updates were critical to the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ and NEMO’s planning, shaping public policy, activation of alert levels, evacuation and other decision- making in the emergency management process.
On April 8, the team recorded tremors and elevated periods of steam and gas venting, and on April 9, the volcano moved to an explosive phase with magma extrusion, tremors and volcano-tectonic seismic activity.
"What would have happened to us had it not been for The UWI’s Seismic Team?"
The University immediately spearheaded disaster management and relief efforts. The approach was two- phased. The first was the rapid deployment of relief aid and experts to assist in the areas of greatest need, in close coordination with the government and NEMO. The second phase concentrated on rehabilitation response.
Staff, students, alumni, friends and partners were encouraged to contribute financial resources with special priority towards healthcare, education and displaced students left vulnerable following the eruption.
In the aftermath, PM Ralph Gonsalves thanked The UWI for this extraordinary national support and asked the question, “What would have happened to us had it not been for The UWI’s Seismic Team?”