Dominica: Hurricane Maria - Overview of the Humanitarian Response in 2017 (September-December 2017), 8 February 2018


Situation Overview

The situation is normalising throughout the country. Government services have resumed, many private sector firms have reopened and diverse foodstuffs have reappeared on the markets, shops are reopening, most public schools have reopened, and 30 out of 43 damaged water systems have been provisionally repaired. Nevertheless, Dominica remains seriously impacted. Based on the comprehensive Building Damage Assessment conducted by the Ministry of Housing and UNDP, 44 per cent of the buildings have been destroyed or suffered major damage, with a further 28.5 per cent experiencing damage to over 25 per cent of their roofs and 27 per cent with minimal roof damage. Most houses still have inadequate roofing, school attendance levels have not yet returned to normal, 80 per cent of the population still does not have electricity, and a sizeable portion of the population is highly vulnerable due to the loss of their main source of livelihoods, primarily in the fields of agriculture and tourism.

Humanitarian actors are transitioning from relief to recovery-oriented activities and coordination mechanisms are reflecting this shift. A growing number of ministries and stakeholders have taken the lead in sector coordination mechanisms, which is conducive to more comprehensive and complementary action plans. The Ministry of Planning has taken over the lead for multi-sector coordination from the National Emergency Operations Centre.

As of 14 January 2018, seven UN agencies, funds and programmes (FAO, IOM, PAHO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP), eight non-governmental organizations (Americares, CDAC Network, CRS Antilles/Caritas, Emergency Architects, IMC, IsraAID, ITNAC, Samaritan’s Purse) and the Dominica Red Cross with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are providing humanitarian and early recovery assistance in Dominica.


On 29 September 2017, humanitarian partners launched a Flash Appeal seeking US$31.1 million for life-saving assistance and early recovery activities to be implemented until the end of 2017. As of 30 January 2018, the Appeal was 63.3 per cent covered with contributions amounting to US$19.7 million. The Government of the United States of America is the largest source of funding (26.6 per cent) of the Flash Appeal.

Contributions outside the appeal, many of which were for the Red Cross movement, amounted to US$8.8 million. Total funding for Dominica, including contributions to the Flash Appeal and outside, amounted to US$28.5 million.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a revised emergency appeal for CHF 5,322,737 million in support of the Dominica Red Cross Society to assist 15,000 people with multi-sectoral assistance for 12 months. The appeal is 100 per cent covered through financial and in-kind contributions.

On October 9, 2017 the Government requested that a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) be conducted in Dominica to assess the impact of the disaster to inform recovery and reconstruction needs. The assessment, coordinated by the World Bank with the European Union and the United Nations and carried out between 17 and 27 October aimed 1) to identify the effects of the hurricane on the country and quantify damages and losses and 2) identify needs for the rehabilitation, propose restoration options, and assess their costs in sectors identified as the most critical by the Government. The PDNA concluded that total damages amounted to US$931 million and losses to US$382 million, which amounts to 226 per cent of 2016 gross domestic product and that the identified recovery needs for reconstruction and resilience interventions anounted to US$1.37 million.

The final report was presented at a “CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community” donor conference organized by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and UNDP at UN Headquarters in New York on 21 November 2017. Over 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered to mobilise a broad partnership to support reconstruction efforts after hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated several Caribbean Countries. Dominica presented a paper with priority programmes and investments. Support for the reegion included over US$1.3 billion in pledges and over US$1 billion in loans and debt relief.