Dominica: Tropical Storm Erika - Emergency appeal operations update no. 2 (MDRDM002)


Summary: Dominica sustained significant damage due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika on Thursday 27 August 2015. According to CDEMA situational reports, the government declared nine Special Disaster Areas following the devastating impact of the storm throughout the island. The Caribbean Meteorology and Hydrology Institute (CIMH) stated that the Canefield Airport near the capital of Roseau, Dominica, recorded 12.64 inches of rain in a 12-hour period. This resulted in severe flooding and landslides and wide spread damage to housing and infrastructure throughout the island.

Fourteen people were reported dead, 16 missing, 574 rendered homeless and 1,034 people evacuated due to the unsafe conditions in their communities. As of 25 September 2015, damage and losses were estimated at EC$1.3 billion (US$483 million) or 90 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The communities of Petite Savanne and Dubique were hardest hit with all residents being evacuated to guest houses and community centres. The government is in the process of building new homes for the 39 families in Dubique, with the expectation that the relocation will take place by April 2016. The residents of Petite Savanne will be resettled to Bellevue Chopin, but no timeframe has been set for the completion of the building.

Of the eight bridges that were damaged or washed away by the storm, four have been replaced with Bailey Bridges, which were donated by St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica, in the communities of Macoucherie, Point Round, Batalie and Boetica. These bridges are a temporary measure to restore access to affected communities while plans are made to replace them with more permanent structures. There have been some concerns over the safety of the bridges due to the amount of rain in December, especially at Boetica because of the wide span of the bridge and the unstable topography of the area.

All roads have been cleared of debris, but patching and resurfacing is ongoing. The Chinese government has committed to reconstructing the West Coast Highway with works to commence in January 2016.

Tropical Storm (TS) Erika affected all 44 water systems in the country, cutting off the majority of the population’s water supply. According to DOWASCO (Dominica Water and Sewerage Company Limited), 100 per cent of the water has now been restored. Most of the systems have only been fixed temporarily so there have been some issues with constant supply.

Budget Modifications: The coverage of the current appeal coverage is estimated to be 63 per cent. Currently, there are no outstanding pledges, although it is hoped that additional funds will be received to cover the existing gap. A budget revision is expected to be finalized in January 2016 if no additional funds are forthcoming.

Summary of Results to Date: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) operations manager was deployed and arrived in Dominica on 27 November 2015 and will remain in country until 20 April in order to support the Dominica Red Cross on the implementation of the remaining appeal activities, the completion of the final report and the facilitation of the evaluation and the audit. The operation hired a finance and administration officer on 11 November 2015 to support the project.

The main focus this reporting period was the distribution of relief items received through this appeal and from external donors. In-kind donations of food, water and clothing continue to trickle in to the National Society from donors in the Caribbean and overseas. The DRCS has been providing ongoing support to the collective centres housing beneficiaries awaiting permanent housing. On 25 December 2015, over 200 food parcels were given to the collective centres, as well as to institutions and affected individuals.

Additionally, 1,000 mattresses and linens and kitchen sets were received from Panama, the majority of which were distributed; however, some still remain in the warehouse for the communities of Petite Savanne and Dubique, along with some hygiene and cleaning kits. Jerry cans, buckets and aquatabs were also received and distributed in conjunction with pamphlets designed by the Dominica Red Cross Society on proper handwashing techniques and the correct use of aquatabs; the volunteers that were on hand during the distributions also provided this information. The Red Cross distributed over 4,643 litres of bottled water from November to December in places where water availability was limited or non-existent.

All remaining debit cards were distributed to the beneficiaries as part of the cash transfer programme (CTP), with the second disbursement planned for February 2016.