Dominica: Hurricane Maria - Emergency Appeal Operations Update - 6-month operations update (MDRDM003)


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Hurricane Maria hit Dominica on 18 September 2017, bringing torrential rain and winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour (category 5), which affected the country’s 73,800 inhabitants.

The government and UNDP conducted a building damage assessment of 29,431 buildings from late October 2017 until the end of January 2018, which showed that 18.5 per cent of the buildings were destroyed, 25.5 per cent had major damage, 28.5 per cent had minor damage and 27 per cent had minimal damage; moreover, the assessment revealed that many houses still had inadequate roofing.

While most schools have resumed activities, many children have not yet returned to school, and a sizeable portion of the population is highly vulnerable due to the loss of their main source of livelihoods.

The impact of the hurricanes went beyond physical infrastructure: Routine visits to health centres and hospital care were interrupted until those facilities could be repaired. There was damage to structures and critical systems such as water, electricity and communications and to high-cost specialized equipment and medical supplies; additionally, damaged roadways hindered the arrival of supplies to the affected facilities, which also impacted the provision of health care.

The humanitarian actors have mostly transitioned from relief activities to recovery, and coordination mechanisms are reflecting this shift. A growing number of ministries and stakeholders take part in sector coordination mechanisms, which is conducive to more comprehensive and complementary action plans. Finally, the Ministry of Planning has taken over multi-sector coordination from the Dominican government’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society.

The Dominican Red Cross Society (DRCS), with the support of the IFRC, continues to successfully provide essential humanitarian support to the affected population. The support includes the distribution of non-food items (NFIs), including shelter material, the provision of safe water and hygiene items and cash transfer programme (CTP) activities through the distribution of debit cards to selected beneficiaries. Throughout the response process, the National Society’s capacity to respond to disasters has been significantly strengthened. Approximately 75 volunteers are supporting the relief/shelter distributions, water and sanitation provision and cash transfer programme activities, and the DRCS is recruiting new volunteers to ensure the continuation of response and recovery activities.

The revised EPoA includes a strong emphasis on capacity building, since there is a strong need for rebuilding its core structure and increasing its ability to respond to future disasters and to provide follow up on the National Society’s recent restructuring.