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 deposit of 6 to 8 inches of rain in less than twelve hours and triggered massive flooding and several landslides.
The immediate national efforts were centred on search and rescue efforts. The government of Dominica requested assistance with search and rescue, medical support and damage assessment. Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and other regional partners including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) deployed teams to the countries. The French government has provided one helicopter to assist with the search and rescue efforts. Initial reports form the French Civil Defence indicate that the most affected area is Petite Savanne (currently accessible by sea or air), an area with an estimated population of 1,200, where 20 houses were destroyed and 50 houses were damaged.
Most of the main roads were impassable and several bridges were blocked or damaged. The provision of essential services (water, electricity) has been disrupted, and landline and mobile phone service is intermittent. The agricultural sector and consequently livelihoods has been significantly impacted due to crop losses. As of 1 September 2015, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) has confirmed 11 dead and 23 people have been reported missing.
Following a preliminary assessment of the impact, the Dominica’s prime minister declared nine Special Disaster Areas on 29 August 2015.
Special Disaster Areas
The Government of Dominica has declared nine (9) Special Disaster Areas. These are: Petite Savanne, Pichelin, Good Hope, Bath Estate (Paradise Valley), Dubique, Campbell, Coulibistrie, San Sauveur, Petite Soufriere
Other critical areas that have been identified are: Grand Bay, Delices, Boetica, Laplaine, Colihaut, Grand Fond
DREF assistance has been requested to cover immediate needs, with a focus on detailed assessments, relief distribution, as well as water and sanitation; immediate needs will also include food, water and sanitation, building materials, damage assessment.
Dominica Red Cross actions
The Dominica Red Cross continues to provide immediate relief through the distribution of food and water to walk-ins and other requests for assistance. The National Society indicated that current supplies include household supplies for up to 300 families. A limited number of hygiene kits and cleaning kits are also available. Digicel and the Coast Guard have made boats available to reach communities that are not accessible by land.
Fact & Figures at 2 September:
Red Cross volunteers returned to Good Hope, which is in dire need of water to continue with assessments. 100 jerry cans and 20 food parcels were delivered
Campbell – 100 jerrycans and 5 cases of water were delivered.
Assessments were done by Community Disaster Response Teams (CDRTs)
Emergency shelter at Grammar school – no new intakes. 740 people have relocated in order to stay with host families. 120 people remain in shelters. The Red Cross will provide the host families with 12 mattresses
Food parcel and water provided to a host family in Massacre.
A detailed assessment will be conducted in selected communities The communities proposed to the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) include Bath Estate, Checkhall, River Estate, Grandbay, Pichelin, Dubic, Stowe, Fond St.Jean, Delices, Good Hope, Petite Soufriere, San Sauveur, and Atkinson (an area where many people evacuated from Petit Savanne have travelled to stay with host families). This list may be expanded to include Campbell, Mero and Layou.
Grand Bay community will be without water for at least another month. The water treatment plant provided by the Regional Intervention Platform for the Americas and the Caribbean (PIRAC) arrived yesterday with the capacity to serve 4,500 people/day.
The Dominica Water and Sewerage Company Limited (DOWASCO) will conduct a joint detailed assessment with the Red Cross in Pichelin, Grand Bay, Bagatelle and Fond St Jean, which will indicate the timeframe for the restoration of the water and sewage system.
The National Society and the Anglo-Caribbean regional disaster management coordinator met with the coordinator from the Office of Disaster Preparedness to coordinate the support coverage for the affected areas.
According to CDEMA Situation Report #8:
The Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) remains activated. The RRM is an arrangement for the coordination of disaster response among CDEMA Participating States, and Regional and International Agencies. The RRM is coordinated by CDEMA through the Regional Coordination Centre in Barbados.
Deployment, quantification of needs and priorities are ongoing and are being coordinated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Disaster and Assessment Coordination (CDAC) team on the ground. The National Emergency Operations Centre is also being supported by the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST). Additionally, CDEMA has initiated its first rotation of the CDAC and COST teams to relieve those deployed in the immediate aftermath of the event.
Updates on pledges and support
CDEMA Participating States
Antigua and Barbuda:
A container of relief supplies was dispatched to Dominica on Monday night (31 August containing 63 boxes of clothing and shoes, toiletries, dry goods and canned goods. The government of Antigua and Barbuda has also committed an immediate US$100,000 and relief experts to assist the government of Dominica in its relief efforts.
The government of Barbados continues to support the transit of essential personnel and relief supplies from its port to Dominica.
The government of Saint Lucia continues to support the transit of essential personnel and relief supplies from its ports to Dominica.
The government of Saint Vincent has committed 100ft Bailey Bridges. These are scheduled to depart Saint Vincent by Friday, 4 September 2015.
Trinidad and Tobago:
Helicopters used in the early stages of the response have completed the initial hours pledged and are now on standby for further deployment as necessary.
Regional Institutions Support
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) called a meeting on 1 September of Chief Medical Officers (CMO) in the region to brief them on the current situation in the health sector in Dominica.
University of the West Indies has placed six engineers on standby who are experienced in assessment in infrastructural damage and flooding, public health, water supplies and water resource management.
Development Partner/Non-CDEMA Participating States
Government of France:
A French Helicopter is distributing relief supplies to areas that are inaccessible by road.
The British vessel, RFA Lyme, carrying medical supplies and 21 marines to support the relief effort arrived in Dominica on Wednesday, 2 September 2015.
United Development Fund:
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has indicated that US$50,000 will be made accessible from 2 September onward to assist with relief support.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with Dominican media stations to air the child protection messages produced by UNICEF in collaboration with CDEMA.
The European Commission is providing €300,000 in emergency humanitarian funding. The emergency aid provided by the European Union (EU) is to assist those most affected and will be distributed through PAHO. In collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), relief efforts will focus on: restoring access to essential health services and medical care capacity (including psychosocial support); providing safe drinking water, and ensuring proper hygiene, sanitation and waste management; and implementing crucial disease prevention activities. Seven engineers from the European Union are also on hand to assist with the assessment of roads and bridges.
NAGICO Insurance has pledged EC$75,000 in $100 food vouchers.
CDEMA is coordinating the Regional Response Mechanism and providing direct support to Dominica.