Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Hurricane Maria September 18, 2017

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A Report by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica
November 15, 2017

Executive Summary

On September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Dominica with catastrophic effect. Hurricane Maria was one of the most rapidly intensifying storms in recent history, intensifying to a category 5 hurricane, roughly 24 hours after being upgraded from a tropical storm. As the hurricane passed over the center of the island, Dominica was exposed to extraordinary winds for more than three hours. This was accompanied by intense rainfall, which provoked flashfloods and landslides. The impacts of Hurricane Maria were severe for both the country’s economy as well as the human development of its citizens. As of November 8, 2017, 30 persons had lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Maria (26 identified and 4 unidentified), and 34 were declared missing. A significant proportion of the labor force is unemployed as an immediate consequence of Maria, with estimates that the decline in the production of goods and services may continue for one to two years.

On October 9, 2017, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica presented an official request for a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), coordinated by the World Bank in conjunction with the UN, ECCB, the CDB, and the EU to assess the disaster impact to inform recovery and reconstruction needs. The main objective of the PDNA is to produce a reliable estimate of the disaster effects and impact of Hurricane Maria, and define a strategy for recovery. Specifically, the assessment aims to: (i) quantify damages and losses, including physical damages and socioeconomic aspects; (ii) evaluate the overall impact of the disaster on the macroeconomic and human development context of a country; and, (iii) identify recovery needs, priorities, and costs for a resilient recovery strategy.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment concluded that Hurricane Maria resulted in total damages of EC$2.51 billion (US$931 million) and losses of EC$1.03 billion (US$382 million), which amounts to 226 percent of 2016 gross domestic product (GDP). The identified recovery needs for reconstruction and resilience interventions, incorporating the principle of ‘building back better’ (BBB) where possible, amount to EC$3.69 billion (US$1.37 billion).

A summary of the damage, loss and needs by sector is detailed in Table 1. Disaster impacts are categorized into four groups: productive sectors, infrastructure, social sectors as well as cross-cutting themes.