UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Humanitarian Situation Report, 19 December 2017
Situation in numbers
# affected children in need of assistance in Irma- and Maria-affected countries
# affected children in Dominica
# children in temporary shelters in Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Dominica
As of 13 December 2017, most schools in all hurricane-impacted Eastern Caribbean countries have reopened, bringing an increasing number of children back to school. However, while in Dominica 94 per cent of publicowned or funded schools have reopened, attendance is only at 68 per cent, possibly highlighting the impact of outward migration in the aftermath of the hurricane.
The resettlement of Barbuda residents has not gone according to plan with only 34 per cent of the population signaling an intent to return from Antigua in the short-term; the main ferry service being out of operation and a decision that the previously state-funded passage (US$ 72 round trip) will now be borne directly by passengers.
In Dominica, only eight per cent of people, mainly those living in the cities of Roseau and Portsmouth, have access to electricity. In the British Virgin Islands (BVI) only one-fifth of the population has restored power.
Since the launch of the programme on 4 December, approximately 1,120 children from a target population of 6,000 vulnerable children and their families have been reached with the UNICEF-supported Emergency Cash Transfer Programme in Dominica.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
With the holiday season approaching, increasing pockets of population in hurricane-ravaged countries continue to see a gradual return to normalcy; but a large segment of the population is still struggling. While critical services, such as water, were restored to between 70 and 90 per cent of people (British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands, respectively), the return of electricity has been at a much slower rate. As of 13 December 2017, over 90 per cent of the population in Dominica was without electricity, while 80 per cent of the residents in British Virgin Islands and 40 per cent in Anguilla remain without power.
The education sector continues to make strides to return to normal, even as a shift system and temporary learning spaces - such as UNICEF-provided tents - continue to be utilised. School enrolment figures in Antigua (Barbuda), Anguilla and Turks and Caicos Islands have reached or surpassed pre-hurricane levels, reflecting some movement between the islands, especially from Dominica. In Dominica, 94 per cent of all public-owned or funded pre-schools, primary and secondary schools have reopened, with an attendance rate of 68 per cent, according to pre-hurricane enrolment figures. However, considering migration trends since the hurricane,it is expected that the school-age population currently residing on the island is below the 18 September 2017 figure.
The expected resettlement of Barbuda residents currently in Antigua, remains a critical concern. According to the Intent to Return survey conducted by IOM, only 34 per cent of approximately 1,600 people, want to return in the short term. The means of transportation from Antigua to the smaller sister island is also doubtful, with the main ferry being out of service, and a decision that Government will no longer bear the cost of the passage.