A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster The island of Dominica sustained significant damage due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika on Thursday, 28 August. A band of torrential rain caused by the system resulted in the 6 to 8 inches of rainfall in less than twelve hours and triggered massive flooding and several landslides.
Regional media reports indicate that Regional governments and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) are stepping in to help Dominica after recording loss of lives and millions of dollars in damage. There is minimal damage to the main hospitals in the capital and the north of the island with some damage to health clinics reported. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over cars and at least one small plane, and the scaffolding of some buildings collapsed. The main river that cuts through the capital overflowed its banks and surging water crashed into the principal bridge that leads into Roseau, whose roads were littered with fallen trees and light poles.
Some streets were turned into fast-flowing rivers. At least, 45 per cent of the affected areas are without power whilst 50 per cent of water supply and telecommunications has been restored island-wide.
Total losses and the total number of persons affected by the flooding are yet to be confirmed. However, based on the 2011 Census Report, with more than 70 per cent of the country’s population living along the coastal areas, a significant number of households have been affected either directly or indirectly. In addition, latest reports provided by the NEOC indicate the following damage.
Affected areas: According to the 2011 Population and Housing Census Report, Preliminary Results Report, the total population in Dominica was 71,293, with 26,085 households distributed across 97 communities. Of these communities, the Government of Dominica has declared nine Special Disaster Areas: Petite Savanne, Pichelin, Good Hope, Bath Estate (Paradise Valley), Dubique, Campbell, Coulibistrie, San Sauveur, and Petite Soufriere.
Access to a number of communities has been restored and injured persons have been airlifted to the Princess Margaret Hospital. As of 31 August 2015, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) has confirmed 11 out of the 20 people missing are dead. The NEOC has also reported 35 persons have been reported missing. In addition, 574 persons were reported homeless, over 600 evacuated and 267 in evacuation centres.
Preliminary infrastructural damage assessments report 52 houses are destroyed and 89 damaged. All FM radio stations are currently operational. Major damage to roadways and bridges has resulted in communities being cut off. However, transportation from Roseau and Portsmouth to some areas is accessible. There are diversions at Coulibistrie and a lack of access to several other areas.
Police and military facilities are accessible via cell phones. Melville Hall airports suffered damage and remain closed to commercial flights. The Canefield airport is operational for helicopter and small aircraft use. All sea ports remain functional and open. Logistics and transportation is a major challenge at the moment. The lack of access and transport to cut off areas has delayed initial assessments and relief activities. Additionally, air and sea transportation is limited and expensive.