Below is a message issued by DukeEngage Director Dr. Eric Mlyn Monday (7/12) to parents of DukeEngage students who are serving communities in Uganda this summer. All reports coming in from the field tell us that students are safe, doing well and eager to continue their work in Mbarara (group program) and Mityama (joint independent project). Learn more about the group program efforts here.
We have heard from a few of you with natural concerns about the safety and well being of your students in Uganda taking part in either our group program in Mbarara or pursuing an independent project in Mityama following the pair of bombings that recently struck Kampala yesterday. All of our students are well.
I am writing to let you know that we have been gathering information over the past 18 hours to help us understand the situation and its potential impact on students. We know that some of you have been in contact with your students, so you have assuredly heard that students are fine and in good spirits. We’ve also been in touch with students either directly or through the on-the-ground coordinator in Mbarara. Dr. Alex Cho, program leader for the Mbarara group, has also been apprised of the situation and is prepared to be supportive as needed.
Earlier today, we discussed the situation with Chris Boroski, the director of Duke’s risk management office, who is our primary liaison with International SOS, the organization that provides local security assessments for DukeEngage sites overseas and, when necessary, direct aid to students and staff in the field. We have received no information from ISOS or other Duke staff in Uganda to indicate that students are in danger at this time at their respective service sites.
Because student safety is paramount, we are instituting immediately some limitations on student travel away from their service sites. Specifically, we have directed students and staff not to travel to Kampala and surrounding areas this weekend, including the tourist area of Jinja. Security checkpoints and roadblocks in and around the capitol have been increased, making travel by car potentially uncertain. Additionally, we are asking DukeEngage participants to avoid high profile and tourist areas in the country and will reassess this as we continue to receive additional information.
We will update you as soon as additional security information becomes available.
You may also wish to read the related message recently posted from the Overseas Security Advisory Council: http://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=119279
If you have any questions or further concerns, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-668-1724.
Eric Mlyn, Ph.D.