Final Evaluation of Hurricane Maria Operation, Dominica Response to Recovery


Prepared by Saara Ali-Browne

Executive Summary


In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm, leaving in its wake devastation and destruction to most of the island’s infrastructure. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Dominica Red Cross Society (DRCS) launched an Emergency Appeal (MDRDM003), which gave rise to funding and resources from partners and donors. The operation commenced on 21 September 2017 with an end date of 31 March 2019. It should be noted that a third revised Emergency Appeal was since prepared with a new end date of 30 June 2019. This evaluation covers only the 18-month period ending on 31 March 2019.

This report is a Final Evaluation of the Hurricane Maria Operation and seeks to determine the appropriateness, relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainable results from the operation as well as any lessons that could be learned and recommendations for future both the DRCS and the IFRC.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used for the review including document review, key informant interviews with IFRC and DRCS staff as well as community leaders, a household survey in six communities as well as focus group discussions with community members. Finally, a Lessons Learned Workshop was conducted with the DRCS at the end of the field visit.

Key Findings

• The Operation targeted 5,000 households of the most vulnerable households or 15,000 people mostly in and around the St. George Parish and the surrounding Parishes particularly to the South and East.

• Key activities included, deployment of surge tools, Regional Intervention Teams, Head of Operations, Restoring Family Links, Water and Sanitation activities, cash transfer and shelter construction. At the national society level work was done on improving the infrastructure and organizational structures.

• Beneficiary selection and assessment captured most of the target population, especially when done as a Multi Sectoral assessment; however, existing flaws in the process related to assessment criteria as well as the heavy dependence on technology, prevented the Red Cross from helping more persons in need.

• A total of 3,888 households or 11,664 people were reached through the Shelter, Water and Sanitation and Cash Transfer Components which was equivalent to 78% of the overall target.

• An estimate of 8,614 persons received relief items during the review. Because there is no mechanism to determine whether a household received relief multiple times, the estimate was not used to determine an overall beneficiary count for the operation.

• Within a period of 6 months, over 1 million litres of water were supplied to 9 communities who had no access to water.

• Following the hurricane, the greatest needs listed by survey respondents were Water, shelter and food, this directly co-relates to what the respondents received from the Red Cross, including additional items;

• The CTP component reached 1940 households or 97% of the target although it was felt by staff and volunteers that more persons could have been assisted but were not because of the assessment process;

• The original target for shelters to be constructed was severely reduced from 2500 to 500 primarily due to the costs associated with new building codes introduced by the government of Dominica; at the end of the operation a total of 567 shelters were completed;

• The cash for work programme provided income for residents in affected communities, while at the same time assisting in reconstructing their communities.

• Very little was done under disaster preparedness during the period under review possibly due to lack of funding as well as focus on other sectors which were considered critical such as livelihoods and shelter.

• Health activities included the distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLITNs) reaching 3,507 households or 70% of the target, as well as the delivery of psychosocial support;

• From the operation the DRCS was able to receive support to obtain equipment, furniture, receive infrastructural improvements to the headquarters as well as support to reorganize and reconstitute the boards. The latter was done with the assistance of an interim Director General;

• Volunteers formed a critical part of the operation, received training and carried activities through to the communities. Volunteers generally felt that they should have been included in the decision -making process.

• Volunteers were also victims of the Hurricane and required further Psychosocial Support;

• Coordination between the DRCS and IFRC generally was smooth because there DRCS was small and required the support. The challenges outlined in the review in this area were mainly around the communication between the IFRC delegates and the volunteers.

• There was evidence of coordination with other none-movement partners in the various sectors. This was especially evident around the allocation of target areas as well as the weekly meetings attended by RC staff.

• The operation costed a total of CHF 6,796,593 and had a deficit of CHF 18,556,45.
Expenditure was aligned closely to the earmarks outlined for the funds. Most of the funds were used during the Recovery phase with the largest amount going into the Shelter component.

• Data was managed by an IM Officer who had the support of several delegates and training. Data was used frequently for reporting and decision making throughout the operation. There was evidence that the sectors were streamlining their data collection to reduce the burden on the communities as well as the efficiently manage their own volunteers. The use of mobile phones greatly assisted in the collection process.

• Overall, beneficiaries consulted during the review including 84% of the household survey respondents, were satisfied with the Red Cross describing several benefits including those related to the provision of basic needs, knowledge, skills building and income generation.

• The perception of community preparedness for future disasters varied according to the respondent. Persons felt a sense of satisfaction with their improved structures; however, respondents felt there was still more that needed to be done along disaster planning, drills, community shelters, response teams, early warning systems and other forms of preparedness.