The University of Western Australia has been encouraged by messages of support and assistance in the aftermath of the destructive hail storms on the afternoon of Monday, March 22 that caused millions of dollars of damage to buildings and facilities.
"It has been overwhelming to have received so many messages of encouragement and support, ranging from students, staff and graduates, to companies, corporations, national institutions and other universities," Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said.
"Help has been offered for our massive clean-up, as well as offers of support for facilities and services to help restore our teaching and research to normal."
"Remarkably and thankfully, there were no reports of personal injury from the storms. University staff - both individually and collectively - have responded magnificently to the challenges we are facing as a result of the storms.
"The most visible damage has been to Winthrop Hall - the University's iconic great hall and a famous Western Australian landmark. Almost every panel of original stained glass from the 1930s on the north side of the hall has been destroyed.
"But the destructive rain and hail has caused damage right across the University," Professor Robson said.
The Vice-Chancellor said that apart from Winthrop Hall, other areas of the University to be substantially affected included the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences where offices and activities have had to be relocated from severely damaged buildings at the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre; the Education, Fine Arts and Architecture Library where up to a third of the Education collection and a significant proportion of the Fine Arts and Architecture collection appear to have been lost to floodwater and mud; and the University's research glasshouses where significant research work has been lost or disrupted.
Professor Robson said it would be some weeks before a full assessment of damage and lost activities would be able to be made but the damage bill would run into millions of dollars.
The Vice-Chancellor said the University's critical incident response plan had been triggered immediately after the storms and had mobilised a massive operation to restore normality. While the clean up and stabilisation of damaged areas was continuing and would take several more days, repair and reconstruction work would take weeks and months.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716