Caribbean governments urged to support Seismic Research Centre

On Tuesday, October 27th, The UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC) received reports of earthquakes being felt in Dominica but was unable to provide timely information on these events due to limitations in its seismic network in the island that have resulted from non-payment of contributions from several Caribbean countries.

The Centre conducts its routine functions through financial contributions from nine countries in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean. In the past decade, however, only three of these countries have made regular contributions with the others amassing considerable debt to The UWI spanning several years.

The continued non-payment of annual contributions to the SRC by several island governments, including Dominica, has undermined the SRC’s capacity to maintain the regional monitoring network at ideal levels. Financial constraints have also impacted the SRC’s capability to locate small earthquakes sometimes leading to delays in disseminating information to the public on these events.

The SRC actively pursues external funding to support the enhancement of its operations. In 2014, a proposal to access international funding to upgrade the monitoring network in Dominica was drafted through the Government of Dominica. However, to date, the status of the proposal remains unclear.

In spite of this short fall in funding, the SRC endeavours to fulfill its mandate and maintains monitoring operations as near as possible to optimum, within the context of its existing constraints. However, given the heightened seismic activity globally and in the region, it is critical that monitoring agencies such as The UWI Seismic Research Centre are appropriately funded to be able to serve the people of our region at necessary and expected levels.