Dominica

Dominica: Hurricane Maria Situation Report No. 1 (as of 25 September 2017)

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This report is produced by the UN in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the first period from 18 to 25 September, 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 28 September 2017.

Highlights

  • Hurricane Maria destroyed Dominica’s agriculture, compromising food security and livelihoods of 25 per cent of the country’s workforce.

  • Urgent needs in food, water, shelter and logistics have been identified for priority response.

  • Despite tremendous access constraints, various aid organizations have swung into action to provide relief.

  • The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is conducting flights to Dominica from Antigua for humanitarian aid workers.

  • The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has launched an appeal for about $1.65 million to provide urgent assistance to 5,000 people.

56,890 Affected people - Source CDEMA - 15 dead, Source: CDEMA

100% crops destroyed Source: Dominica Government

25% of Dominica’s workforce depend on agriculture

All 53 Health facilities have been affected, Source: PAHO

19,744 children affected by Maria, Source: UNICEF

Situation Overview

Category 5, Hurricane Maria pounded Dominica on 18 September destroying the country’s power and water supply lines, agriculture, telecommunications, damaged health centres, bridges, blocked the roadways with landslides and brought life in the island to a stand-still.

Restoration of power, water supply and provision of food and shelter have been identified as priority areas for humanitarian response. Immediate food assistance is needed to support the affected population, especially in remote areas, before roads and markets open again, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that Hurricane Maria has totally decimated Dominica’s agricultural sector directly impacting income, food and nutrition security of a large percentage of the island’s population. Agriculture not only employs 25 per cent of Dominica’s work force, over the past five years, the sector contributed on average 15 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that urgent needs have been identified for 14,000 affected families, which include tarpaulins, food and water supplies, water purification and hygiene kits, blankets and medical supplies.

The entire country and critical health facilities have been impacted by the lack of power and running water. The blood bank is not operational. The Government of Canada has provided the use of vessels to support relief efforts and help with the transport of critical care patients.

Despite the enormous difficulties faced by the humanitarian community and movement restrictions in place because of the lack of power (which presents a security challenge), aid organizations have swung into action.

Countries not only in the region such as Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Venezuela have responded but also the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency has rallied behind Dominica with relief supplies of food, medicine and much-needed generators.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) led the initial response with supplies of food and non-food items. Spontaneous donations from private citizens have also begun arriving in shipments.

Members of the private sector such as Ericsson with support from the Luxembourg Government have stepped in to assist WFP in setting up emergency telecommunications networks in critical centres. The country’s telecommunication system has been badly affected, making coordination of the relief effort and communication with affected communities difficult.

Military troops from various countries have arrived in the country and are providing support to the humanitarian community in distributing relief supplies.

Dominica is currently accessible via Canefield Airport, which is being used for emergency flights with temporary emergency telecommunications, and the sea port at Woodbridge. The supply of fuel for transport (vehicles and airplanes) is a huge constraint. In spite of the problems, UNHAS has begun operating flights to Dominica for aid workers, who are working under rather difficult conditions.

Lack of storage facilities for incoming supplies is another major concern. In response, WFP is setting up mobile storage units.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is supporting CDEMA on its initial response strategy and coordinating a flash appeal to fund the aid community’s response to Dominica.

To support the Dominica Red Cross Society, deliver urgent assistance to 5,000 people for a year, the IFRC launched an appeal for about $1.6 million.