Dominica’s housing sector received a massive $1-billion blow from Hurricane Maria, preliminary assessments have shown.
And the figure is expected to rise when the assessment is complete, Housing Minister, Reginald Austrie said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
According to Austrie, 90 percent of the housing stock of 31,352 homes were damaged by the hurricane, while ten percent suffered no damage at all.
He gave a breakdown of the damages.
Austrie explained that 15 percent of the housing stock was “slightly damaged,” which is equivalent to 3,646 homes.
“And by slightly damage, we mean about 10 percent of the roof was lost,” he stated.
The next category is “moderately damaged.”
“Ten percent of the housing stock was moderately damaged and that would involve some 50 percent of the roof gone and the total number of homes so far was 5,332,” Austrie stated.
Forty percent of the housing stock fell in in the category of “heavily damaged.”
Austrie explained in that category, 100 percent of the roof was lost and ten percent of other aspects, such as windows and doors, were damaged.
This amounted to 12,500 homes, he stated.
Austrie stated that 6,731 homes fell under the next category of “completely destroyed.”
“Meaning flat down, everything flat down,” he remarked.
In light of the destruction of homes, Austrie pointed out that a review of the building code on the island is underway.
“We have set out to review our own building code and to look at building codes from other jurisdictions, Miami in particular which has suffered from severe storms and hurricanes and in looking at all those building codes and to see where we fell short, where our building codes were lacking,” he stated.
He said that Dominica’s building codes are “sort of okay” but the supervision and application of those codes are lacking.
Austrie said many take shortcuts and not constructing homes properly. They don’t utilize hurricane ties, place the rafters too far apart, use less steel, use poor quality concrete and roofing material
“Some of those issues we begin to discover could have been responsible for the massive damage that we suffered in the housing sector,” he remarked. “Analysis has to be done on that but I believe that is a starting point: supervision of the construction and how we address that situation moving forward.”