In Latin America and the Caribbean, the paradigm shift from traditional humanitarian response by international actors to nationally led disaster risk management has already taken place, in general terms. Within this, national institutions are looking for more efficient and effective ways to meet the needs of their people, especially those affected by more frequent and severe natural disasters due to climate change.
Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southwest coast of Dominica at 9:35pm on 18 September as a Category 5 hurricane, with 160 mph wind speed and higher gusts. The hurricane force resulted in intense storm surges, torrential downpour, overflowing raging rivers, and extremely high winds across the island left 31 people dead, 37 missing. 65,000 people, around 80% of the population, were directly affected and more than 90% of roofs were damaged or destroyed while power and water supplies were disrupted, and entire crops destroyed
UN agencies, NGOs, and government employees sharing the same workspace helped collaboration and information sharing.
Sector-specific and cross-sector coordination meetings allowed agencies and government actors to share information that reduced delays and increased collaboration between actors.
The lack of reliable baseline data greatly hampered efforts and delayed carrying out assessments and distributions properly during the response.
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Tropical Storm Maria formed in the central Atlantic Ocean and is the tenth most intense on record. At its peak, the hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the north-eastern Caribbean, and is considered to be the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica. It also caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico.
The Commonwealth of Dominica is a sovereign island country, part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island lies - southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its area is 750km2, and the highest point is Morne Diablotins. The island’s vegetation is dense, a consequence of its elevation and very high rainfall, which varies from about 1800mm per year on the western coast to over 7,500mm in the mountainous interior. Dominica is a lower middle-income country and the poorest of the southeastern Caribbean islands.