The Disaster Risk Reduction Centre

About the DRRC

The Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC) emerged out of an initiative to mobilize expertise from the University of the West Indies (The UWI) to assist Caribbean countries devastated by hurricane in 2004. Vice Chancellor of The UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris, a few weeks after assuming office, mobilized staff from the then three campuses into the UWI’s Hurricane Relief Task Force, to respond to the passage of Hurricane Ivan through the Caribbean.  Staff with expertise in disaster management and mitigation who volunteered to participate in the relief formed the Task Force.

The UWI, therefore, responded rapidly and effectively, with technical assistance to the worst affected island, Grenada. The University has since that time developed and expanded a database of Disaster Management technical expertise within the UWI. These experts are drawn from Earth Science, Health, Agriculture, Housing, Waste Management and Telecommunications, among other areas to respond to disasters in the region.

In response to the need for multidisciplinary training, research and technical expertise in disaster management and risk reduction within the Caribbean, a region prone to a range of risks, The UWI saw it necessary to establish the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre. The Centre supports the work of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the regional umbrella organization for Disaster Risk Management of CARICOM. The Centre offers a multidisciplinary integrated approach to training, research and the mobilization of expertise (outreach services) required by the Caribbean Disaster Risk Management community.

The Centre is about to complete a five year Caribbean project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, to strengthen resilience by Enhancing Knowledge and Application of Comprehensive Disaster Management (EKACDM) among stakeholders in the region. Part of the project is the development of courses at the MSc level which will lead to a web-based graduate degree programme. Other projects undertaken by the Centre include a Review of the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework in the Caribbean; a review of Jamaica’s Country document on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); an Evaluation of the Impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the region; and the Evaluation of Phase II of the Smart Health Care Facilities Project in the Caribbean.

The DRRC supports the UWI’s library in managing a fully equipped virtual library of disaster information: the Caribbean Disaster Information Network (CARDIN) - as a ready resource for practitioners in the field.

The Centre provides support to harness training, research, outreach and advisory services to nurture a more resilient Caribbean Region.

Vision Statement

To be a multi-disciplinary Centre of Excellence in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management in the Caribbean and globally, especially in Small Island States.

DRRC's Mission

  • Provide leadership that drives the rationalization, integration, and development of all initiatives in disaster risk reduction and disaster management within the University of the West Indies.
  • Mobilize resources, to supplement those provided by the University of the West Indies, to advance the university’s disaster management programme.
  • Develop partnerships and foster collaborative mechanisms that allow the University, its students and staff to maximize the effectiveness of their interventions in disaster management to advance sustainable development in the Caribbean region.

The Director


Dr. Barbara E. Carby CD, ONM, PhD (Geo-Chemistry) - Director of the UWI’s Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC).

Dr. Carby is a former Director General of Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management (ODPEM), a position she held for over ten years. While at the ODPEM she is credited with placing risk reduction on Jamaica’s national agenda and pioneering the development of a national mitigation policy. She also expanded the hazard mapping programme and fostered the use of hazard maps by Parish Councils in their development planning. After serving in this capacity, she became the first Director of Hazard Management for the Cayman Islands . During her tenure, she established a full-time national office for disaster risk management and developed a national strategic framework for disaster risk reduction which has guided national programmes in the Cayman Islands.

Dr. Carby continues to work on several disaster management programmes locally, regionally and internationally. She has also served voluntarily with the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations. She was one of the experts selected to the UN Scientific and Technical Committee for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and a member of the Advisory Board for the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. She is also the immediate past Chair of the International Science Council’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Chair of the Education Sector Sub-committee of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

Her research interests include the integration of knowledge-bases in reducing disasters; disaster risk management planning for persons with disabilities and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Governance. Dr Carby is a recipient of the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, from the Government of Jamaica and Knight of the National Order of Merit from the Government of France, in recognition of her contribution to disaster risk reduction.