Situation in numbers
# affected children in need of assistance in Irma and Maria-affected countries
# affected children in Dominica
# people in temporary shelters in Dominica
As of mid-November, the majority of schools in Anguilla, Antigua, British Virgin Islands (BVI), and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) have reopened their doors, bringing children back to school. Still, over fifty per cent of children in Dominica, including close to 90 per cent of children still living in shelters, are yet to regain access to formal education.
As of 10 November, some 16,600 children in the affected countries are now back to school with UNICEF support. 5,981 children in Dominica and 3,156 in the British Virgin Islands are accessing education through temporary learning spaces. Additionally, 4,798 children benefitted from psychosocial support, and a total of 12,813 accessed safe community spaces - a 50 per cent increase since the last report.
A key operational priority for UNICEF at the current stage is to support national child protection and education systems to respond to the needs of children experiencing trauma and distress, children at risk, children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The situation on all Eastern Caribbean islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria is gradually improving and returning to normalcy, with more access to water, electricity and communications. In Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Dominica, approximately 70 per cent of the population has access to restored water services, while power services coverage ranges from 70 per cent in Turk and Caicos Islands (TCI) to 10 percent in Dominica. There has also been a notable reduction in the number of displaced people living in official shelters in BVI and Dominica. In Dominica, this includes a 60 per cent decrease over the last few weeks.
The majority of children in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, and Turk and Caicos Islands have now gone back to school, with all public schools reopening. However, in Dominica just around a third of national schools were open as of 10 November, and 87 per cent of children living in collective shelters still do not have access to any type of education, and are missing out on valuable months of their schooling, which could have implications on the quality of their education. It is also essential to ensure that all 43 schools reporting significant damages are repaired in a timely manner and meet the minimum safety standards for children enrolled.
As the emergency response shifts to the early recovery phase, limitations of existing child protection systems are emerging, mainly linked to increased needs and weakened social services for children with disabilities and special needs, as well as children in collective shelters. There is also insufficient information on internally and externally displaced children, especially from Dominica, who may face specific child protection risks.