UNDP boosts presence in Dominica to coordinate UN-wide building back better phase

A senior UNDP team is now in Dominica to coordinate the UN-wide crisis recovery efforts, looking into the long-term efforts to rebuild a more resilient Caribbean island country after Category Five Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on 18 September.

Upon request from the Government, a senior UNDP staff member arrived on 3 October to lead the UN-wide Crisis Management Unit, also composed of other UNDP and OCHA personnel.

Leading the early recovery efforts, UNDP is also deploying waste management and debris removal experts to kick start the building back better phase, first in the capital Roseau and soon across Dominica, working hand-in-hand with Government officials, UN agencies and placing affected communities at the centre of the recovery initiatives.

“I was here a week ago and came back this morning and even in this short time I could see a significant transformation,” said UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Stephen O’Malley, who briefed journalists via phone from Dominica on 3 October.

“[In the immediate aftermath] the island was almost totally brown, the leaves had been blown off. Now you can start to see that green come back up on the hillside. That’s matched by a lot of progress seen on the ground. The streets are cleared. I saw a lot of garbage being collected, roads are opening up, and power is coming back, at least to the capital and other locations. Nine thousand people have water as supposed to nobody last week,” added O’Malley, whose office covers two of the most hurricane-impacted countries this season, Barbuda and Dominica.

In 2015 a hurricane of much smaller scale and impact had devastated Dominica destroying 90 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), O’Malley recalled.

UNDP’s Caribbean country advisor Ian King, deployed as part of the Crisis Management Unit in Dominica, reported that  “during recent field trips with the shelter sector we saw impacts on the West coast and we corroborated the overwhelming impact to roofing.”

“Some communities are getting on with clean up, including separating out the corrugated iron sheets, which will fit well with the debris management activities with the Government, a crucial step in this recovery phase,” King added, explaining that the debris removal and recycling, separating waste—including medical and hazardous material—during collection and not burning waste are crucial to clear the way for all the humanitarian relief and for the longer-term recovery efforts.

In the immediate hurricane aftermath UNDP made available US$100,000 from its core resources to support assessments, coordination and recovery planning in Dominica.

In numbers: Hurricane Maria impact in Dominica

56,890 Affected people, 15 dead, Source: CDEMA

100% crops destroyed Source: Dominica Government

25% of Dominica’s workforce depends on agriculture

All 53 Health facilities have been affected, Source: PAHO

19,744 children affected by Maria, Source: UNICEF

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