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After Hurricane Maria, Dominica Seeks to Rebuild Itself Better


A woman walks through the streets of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, shattered by the passage of two category five hurricanes  - UNICEF / Moreno Gonzalez

via Google Translate: - - 28 December 2017

Three months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica, the population remains very affected. However, the post-emergency phase represents a series of opportunities to rebuild better and increase the resilience of the Caribbean island.

Hurricane Maria, of category 5, hit Dominica on September 18, leaving 15 people dead and about 57,000 people affected.

"Three months after the disaster, the situation is much better, but it is still difficult for many," said Luca Renda, the leader of the United Nations response team to the crisis in Dominica, in an interview with UN News.

"The basic needs are covered. The vast majority of children go to school and shops and markets have reopened. However, a third of the population remains displaced, staying at home with family or friends. Only 10% have electricity, and a third do not have direct access to water (potable), "said Renda, who is also coordinator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the island.

In addition, more than 40% of the buildings were destroyed or severely damaged by the hurricane.

The agricultural sector, generator of jobs on the island, suffered a great impact with the totality of crops destroyed.

A generous international response

After the disaster, the UN installed a Crisis Management Unit, made up of members of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The post-disaster needs assessment led by a high-level team from UNDP and the World Bank estimated the necessary funding for the recovery of the island at $ 1.3 billion.

A high-level event, organized in November in New York by the UNDP and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), raised 2.4 billion dollars for the Caribbean countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, surpassing all expectations.

"The road to recovery will be long and difficult but the mobilization of the international community has been generous," says Renda, who acknowledges that the needs are "enormous". To date, financing reaches 65%.

Rebuild better

To rebuild and inject the necessary cash into the communities, more than 800 Dominicans affected by the hurricane received training and were temporarily employed as part of the National Employment Program to clean debris around health facilities, roads, schools and rivers. The strategy supported by the UNDP seeks to place affected people at the center of the recovery process. Almost half of the total number of workers hired temporarily are women, earning, until mid-2018, more than double the Dominican minimum wage.

"It's an opportunity to rebuild better," says Luca Renda. "We have revised the building codes to adapt to a Category 5 hurricane. We have brought in international experts. We have also launched a certification and training program for builders and engineers, which will allow reconstruction to adopt practices that make the structures more resistant, "he explains.

The UN also seeks to strengthen the economy, working together with the government. Agriculture, in particular, will be a priority sector, since it employs 25% of Dominica's labor force.

"We are entering a new era, where we have to prepare and adopt new practices of development, construction and management of the economy, because there are no other options. The Caribbean islands need to rebuild better and adopt solutions to be more resilient, "said Renda.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE - reliefweb - Tras el huracán María, Dominica busca reconstruirse mejor 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE - UN - Tras el huracán María, Dominica busca reconstruirse mejor


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