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Hurricane Maria - Sep 2017

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Disaster types
Tropical Cyclone

Hurricane MARIA continued moving west-northwest over the Caribbean Sea, strengthening. Its center passed south of St. Croix island (US Virgin islands) early in the morning of 20 September. It then continued moving towards Puerto Rico as a category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 270 km/h. MARIA is forecast to make landfall along Puerto Rico, near Yabucoa city at around 12 UTC on 20 September....Official reports mentioned that, as of 20 September, at least two people were killed in Guadeloupe island, while hundreds of people have been evacuated and hundreds of houses destroyed in Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique islands. (ECHO, 20 Sep 2017)

At least 14 people have died in Dominica, with the number of fatalities expected to rise as large areas of the island remain inaccessible after category 5 Hurricane Maria decimated the island’s east coast, according to initial reports from the ground. At least 80 per cent of the island’s population has been affected and needs support with shelter and water, according to CDEMA. (OCHA, 21 Sep 2017)

As of 19 September, hundreds of people were evacuated in Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for more than 11,900 people in Puerto Rico (ECHO 19/09/2017). Maria made landfall in Dominica on September 19 and in Puerto Rico on 20 September. As of October 10, at least 96 people are confirmed to have been killed: 51 in Puerto Rico, 30 in Dominica, five in the Dominican Republic, four in the contiguous United States, three in Haiti, two in Guadeloupe, and one in the US Virgin Islands. 39,000 children are in need of assistance in countries affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, more than a quarter of them are under five (UNICEF 18/10/2017) (ACAPS, 2 Nov 2017)

On 29 September, UN and partners launched a Flash Appeal for $31.1 million to support relief and early recovery efforts in Dominica till the end of 2017. The UN has allocated US$3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to address the urgent needs of Dominica’s people. There is a steady flow of food into the country. More than 15.5 metric ton of food and 190,000 litres water has been delivered. Supermarkets are expected to open this week. Government expects to have access to all parts of the country later this week. Provision of potable water to the west coast to be prioritized following serious concerns over communicable diseases. (UN, 2 Oct 2017)

As of 14 November, 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. (UNICEF, 14 Nov 2017)

For Dominica, 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). (Gov't of Dominica, 15 Nov 2017)

The European Commission has provided €500,000 to [UNICEF] to support Dominica’s education sector in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last September...The EU-UNICEF project aims to fill this gap. The 11-month project will target 1,500 primary school children in the 20 most severely damaged schools. Each school will get a library and a range of teaching materials, including text books and workbooks. (ECHO/UNICEF, 18 Jan 2018)

At almost four months after Hurricane Maria hit Dominica, only around 10 per cent of people, mainly in the cities of Roseau and Portsmouth, have access to electricity. The Dominica Electricity Services reported that services are in process of being restored throughout the island. Diverse foodstuffs have reappeared on the markets, shops are reopening, most public schools have reopened, and 30 out of 43 damaged water systems have been provisionally repaired. The curfew was lifted in Roseau on 8 December. Nevertheless, Dominica remains seriously impacted. Over 80 percent of houses still have inadequate roofing, many children have not yet returned to school and a sizeable portion of the population is highly vulnerable due to the loss of their main source of livelihoods. To date, 8 collection centres are still open. (IFRC, 29 Jan 2018)

The humanitarian actors have mostly transitioned from relief activities to recovery, and coordination mechanisms are reflecting this shift. A growing number of ministries and stakeholders take part in sector coordination mechanisms, which is conducive to more comprehensive and complementary action plans. Finally, the Ministry of Planning has taken over multi-sector coordination from the Dominican government’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). (IFRC, 20 May 2018)