Dominica: Hurricane Maria Situation Report No. 9 (as of 02 November 2017)


This report is produced by the United Nations in collaboration with humanitarian partners in Dominica. It covers the period from 26 October to 01 November 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 9 November 2017.


  • As of 31 October, the World Food Programme (WFP) had delivered 338 metric tons (MT) of food rations composed of beans, rice, sardines and oil to 26,600 people in 38 settlements and over 60 communities. Food distributions are coordinated with Village Councils, local distribution committees and constituencies.

  • The Ministry of Education with the support of the UN Children´s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners, reopened seven primary schools during the week. Currently 26 primary and secondary schools (21 per cent of the total number of schools) initiated classes with a reduced schedule and only for certain grade levels, due to infrastructural limitations. There are still 17 schools used as collective centres.

  • The Ministry of Planning and UNICEF will assess the magnitude and patterns of child migration resulting from post Hurricane Maria displacement of families and children.

  • The Ministry of Education, Electriciens Sans Frontières and UNICEF will install 24 electrical generators in schools to guarantee the full right to education for children and adolescents.

  • The Dominica Water and Sewerage Company Limited (DOWASCO) is providing water services to approximately 73 per cent of the population after extensive repairs on water networks. Still, regularity of water services remains fragile and more extensive repairs will be required.

  • The Ministry of Education, DOWASCO and UNICEF are providing basic water and services to 23 schools and there are plans to guarantee full access to these services in all the opened schools.

  • Building damage assessments led by the Ministry of Housing and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) commenced on Friday, 27 October with over 100 assessors organized in 28 teams, utilizing 60 Microsoft tablets and software to capture data.

  • The Bureau of Gender Affairs supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to strengthen the referral pathway for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors. This includes the dissemination of information on available multi-sectoral services (medical, psychosocial, security and legal) to affected population.

Situation Overview

After an intense period of blanket emergency assistance following Hurricane Maria, the Government and humanitarian actors are refining plans and targeting strategies to identify and prioritize the most affected and vulnerable for further assistance. Recovery planning has begun; however, continued humanitarian assistance will be needed in the coming 2-3 months until longer-term programmes are in place.
Food distribution continues to be necessary in settlements that are highly vulnerable or did not receive sufficient food since the hurricane to cover the full requirements. WFP’s second phase of in-kind food distributions that continued this week aims to complement the Government’s and targets those settlements that meet specific vulnerability criteria such as high poverty rate, high density of damage to infrastructure and landslides, and dependency on agriculture as the primary livelihood. The final deliveries were carried out on 1 November and committees will continue food distributions up to mid-November. The Government is providing food assistance in areas not targeted by WFP in this second phase of in-kind food distributions and will complement the WFP ration in areas assisted by WFP, while phasing out relief assistance in coming weeks.

Based on the Flash Appeal published on 29 September, out of a total of 26,085 houses, an estimated 23,488 houses are moderately or highly damaged, or destroyed. Shelter actors continue to distribute emergency shelter materials such as tarpaulins, timber and tents. Post distribution monitoring has identified an urgent need for instruction on effective shelter repair and tarpaulin installation, as well as material and labour support to people who are unable to install or repair on their own. This week, the Ministry of Housing, in collaboration with UNDP, commenced the building damage assessment with over 100 trained people from the public sector.

An estimated 73 per cent of the population (51,860 people) has regained access to water following emergency repairs of the water networks; however, extensive rehabilitation is required to repair the massive damage suffered and to increase resilience in the future. Water trucking and mobile water treatment units are still required to further extend access to improved water to the population, especially to schools, collective centres and health facilities.

Twenty-one health facilities (43 per cent) are fully functional with staff at the facility and have available water and electricity; 19 (39 per cent) are partially functional providing limited services or operating out of alternative sites.

The remaining nine facilities (18 per cent) are non-functional. Most health facilities have a generator installed; however, challenges persist with fuel and capacity for 24/7 functioning. There is a dire need for reproductive health medicines and supplies; UNFPA is supporting the Ministry of Health in this area.
Currently 26 primary and secondary schools (21 per cent of the total) are opened in the country, working with different groups of children and adolescents. UNICEF and partners will reach up to 5,000 school age children in the country through the Return to Happiness programme in schools, child friendly spaces and communities.

Additionally, water solutions have been provided to 23 schools, and there are plans to scale up the strategy to all schools in the country.

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) led by the World Bank Group concluded its onsite stage this week with a presentation of the preliminary results to the senior officials of Government. The PDNA is coordinated by the World Bank, United Nations Development Group and the European Union with the intention to develop a comprehensive multi-sectoral impact assessment and a recovery strategy. The report is scheduled for publication on 13 November.

Six weeks into the response, the media has still not fully recovered from the damage done to its infrastructure and equipment. Two important towers of the public broadcaster Dominica Broadcasting Cooperation (DBS) are still not operational, which leaves large parts of the east coast without radio signal. Newspapers are still not being printed, and problems with human resources also prevent newspapers from publishing online. Combined issues of power, signal, lost phones and damaged radios mean people across the island are still not receiving the information they need to make important decisions for their recovery. The Community Engagement & Communications network (CDAC) released a Dominica Media Overview highlighting the gaps and needs for support for local media so they can fully play their role of communicating with communities. CDAC is supporting the sectors to include communication and information needs into their ongoing assessments and to include communication activities into their regular programming.