The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to support the Government of Dominica with increasing the emergency preparedness of communities.
Under this project, IOM will undertake several activities, including the repair and rehabilitation 12 emergency shelters recommended by the Department of Local Government, and in close collaboration with the Office of Disaster Management (ODM).
At the end of September 2017, two weeks after the massive destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in Dominica, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted Displacement Tracking surveys for the Government of Dominica and found that a total of 78 emergency shelters were being used, housing 3,044 internally displaced persons (IDPs). While most of these people have moved out of the emergency shelters, many found it necessary to return to seek safety at emergency shelters across the island during the hurricane season of 2018. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the shelters are in good repair and properly equipped to provide an essential service.
“Clearly, emergency shelters are not something that we want. They are just necessary. IOM and USAID as the donor are joining efforts with the ministries, local government and the ODM; with civil society to improve preparedness in communities,” Dimitris Champesis, Project Manager, noted.
He continued, “We are preparing 12 emergency shelters to support the resilience mechanisms of these communities while also working on awareness and advocacy. At the end, being prepared is key to improving resilience, which is essentially the ability to weather and recover from whatever life might bring.”
Rehabilitation work has already commenced in Mahaut, Marigot, Bioche, Glanvillia and Tarish Pit. Work will begin this week at the Sineku Pre-School, Atkinson Resource Center, Calibishie Resource Center and the Wesley Resource Center. Other shelters to be repaired and rehabilitated are the Boetica Sewing Group Building, the Canefield Community Center and the Scotts Head Government School. Scope of work ranges from repair of doors and windows, plumbing and electricals, renovation of kitchen facilities to installation of solar power systems.
Emergency shelters are classified as a type of collective center, falling under the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) humanitarian Cluster, where IOM is a global leader. Based on international standards for CCCM, safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, generators, ropes, axes, hammers will be provided where needs have been assessed. For personal safety: cots, basic first aid kits, kitchen sets, stoves as well as non-food items (mattresses, sheets, torches, hygiene kits) will be pre-positioned in case of emergencies.
“With this USAID funded project, we are repairing these 12 officially recognized emergency shelters, to make them safer and more functional. They will receive basic tools such as fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, hammers, ropes, first aid kits and personal safety items. (IOM will also advocate for and support coordination of relevant actors to find durable solutions for people still living in emergency shelters, so that the shelters can be available again when and if the need arises” Community Engagement Officer, Maxine Alleyne- Esprit stated.
Ultimately, through this project, IOM hopes to support the government and people of Dominica, through the ODM, local government, community disaster committees and emergency shelters, to be better prepared to face recurrent hurricanes and other disasters.
The USAID project runs until the end of June 2019.