Dominica: Hurricane Maria Situation Report No. 6 (as of 14 October, 2017)


This report is produced by the United Nations in collaboration with humanitarian partners in Dominica. It covers the period from 8 to 11 October 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 14 October 2017.


  • The Government plans to re-open 24 schools on 16 October and an additional 8 schools during the week. Of these, 19 are being used as collective centres where approximately 700 people are currently residing. UNICEF and partners are urgently preparing the schools with safe spaces, education and recreational materials, and water and sanitation facilities.

  • Camp coordination and camp management partners visited the 19 schools that are serving as collective centres to identify the specific needs of the people and plan an urgent response prior to the re-opening of the schools.

  • At least 190 metric tons (MT) of food have been delivered as of 10 October, to meet the needs of about 60,000 people during a short period.

  • Delivery of potable water to communities, health care facilities, collective centres and schools continues and is required until the remaining water networks are repaired.

  • 2,911 people are currently residing in 108 collective centres visited by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

  • Debris and waste management is coming to a critical point.

  • High demand and limited supply of trucks for delivery are constraining the delivery of assistance.

$31 million needed for relief and recovery efforts in Dominica Source: UN Flash Appeal

71,000 affected people Source: UN Flash Appeal

65,000 people targeted for aid Source: UN Flash Appeal

90 per cent buildings damaged or destroyed Source: Aerial estimate by Pacific Disaster Centre

Situation Overview

Nearly one month after Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica, humanitarian assistance continues to be required to meet basic needs across the country. According to the Government, 100 per cent of localities have received some sort of relief assistance since the hurricane; however, the amount and type of assistance provided at household and individual level is unclear. While water and electricity are progressively returning in the main urban areas, peri-urban and rural areas remain disconnected from services.

The Dominica Electrical Services Company (DOMLEC) is repairing electrical lines prioritizing public infrastructure and commercial businesses before residential areas. During the reporting period, electricity has been restored in a number of streets and businesses in Roseau and at the Ross University in Portsmouth. DOMLEC noted that burning debris in the vicinity of electrical poles is hindering the repair of lines.

As of 14 October, the Dominican Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) had repaired 14 out of 44 water supply networks serving some 39,000 people (about 55-60 per cent of the population). Water distribution through these networks is turned off during the night to allow DOWASCO to repair leaks. As networks are repaired, water trucks and water treatment units are redeployed to other areas to expand coverage.

Food distribution continues to be a priority across the country as access to and availability of food in markets remains limited. Small shops remain closed particularly in rural areas, and larger to medium importers are facing short-term pipeline breaks of certain staple foods. Major supermarkets, however, are re-establishing operations in urban centres. Food parcels are particularly critical for public servants such as emergency personnel, health workers, social workers and teachers. The World Food Programme (WFP) is expecting a shipment of 376 MT of food on or about 18 October and is liaising with the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs and other humanitarian partners to prioritize localities and people for assistance.

District Development Officers and Social Welfare Officers of the Government are carrying out a country-wide household damage and needs assessment (DANA) that should be finished by 17 October. IOM has offered to digitize the paper forms so that the information can be shared and used by the Government, local Village Councils and international partners for beneficiary targeting. Humanitarian partners are working closely with the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs on a harmonized targeting approach for beneficiary selection.

An aerial survey carried out by the Pacific Disaster Center indicates that more than 16,000 houses (some 62 per cent) have been highly damaged or destroyed. The DANA will also inform the housing strategy that is currently under development with partners in the Shelter and Early Recovery sectors.

The Ministry of Education announced plans to reopen at least 24 schools on Monday 16 October. Education and WASH partners accompanied Ministry of Education officers to assess the selected schools and identify priority repairs and needs. UNICEF is working with DOWASCO to ensure water and sanitation services are available and educational and recreational materials are provided. According to IOM, 19 of the schools are currently functioning as collective centres housing some 700 people. Shelter partners are working with the Government to provide emergency shelter materials to people who are able to return home with minimum repairs, and to identify alternative solutions, such as host families or other collective centres, for people who cannot easily return home.

Little is known about the status of private preschools and daycare centres and the children ages 0 to 4 years that were assisted through them prior to the hurricane. The Ministry of Education had provided an annual subsidy to the 83 private preschools and daycare centres but is not responsible for the damage assessment or repairs following the hurricane.

According to IOM, at least 2,900 people are residing in 108 collective centres throughout Dominica. IOM is coordinating site assessments carrying out the displacement tracking matrix (DTM) methodology to gather information on the needs and priorities of people in the centres.

Restoring health systems, including rehabilitation of damaged health centres, wellbeing of health staff and surveillance is a priority. As of 14 October, 17 health centres out of the 49 in country remain nonoperational. As such, six international emergency medical teams (EMT), coordinated by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), remain in country to provide emergency care and to attend to people with chronic illnesses until health services are restored. The damaged sewage system and abundance of municipal waste is a growing concern.

While a comprehensive plan for debris and waste management is under development, urgent action is needed to mitigate the risk of large-scale breaks in the sewage system.