Caribbean Hurricanes - Fact Sheet #1 FY18

Octber 03, 2017

  • Additional USAID/OFDA and other relief supplies arrive in hard-to-reach Grand Bay in southern Dominica.
  • DART and JTF-LI provide plastic sheeting to more than 2,500 Dominican households over four days.
  • DART assesses food security conditions, initiates working group on cash and voucher assistance.

Numbers At A Glance


Reported Fatalities in the Caribbean Region due to Hurricane Irma

Up to 265,000

People in the Caribbean Region Affected by Hurricane Irma


Reported Fatalities in Dominica due to Hurricane Maria


People on Dominica Affected by Hurricane Maria


Metric Tons of USAID/OFDA Relief Items Airlifted to Five Hurricane-Affected Countries

Humanitarian Funding

For the Caribbean Hurricanes Response in FY 2017

USAID/OFDA $1,935,618
DoD $10,700,000
Total $12,635,618

Overall, the humanitarian situation in Dominica has improved, with a gradual restoration of road access, as well as electricity and water supplies, according to the UN and other relief organizations. While humanitarian response efforts continue, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GoCD) and other stakeholders are beginning to shift their focus to early recovery.

On October 1, four additional staff arrived in Dominica to join the USAID Caribbean Hurricanes Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). The personnel includes two USAID/OFDA disaster risk management specialists (DRMSs) and two food security officers from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP). The DART continues to coordinate closely with stakeholders to meet the urgent needs of hurricane-affected populations, particularly for shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance.

The DART is working closely with GoCD officials and Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands (JTF-LI), comprising members of DoD’s Southern Command, to ensure the rapid delivery of assistance to isolated areas. On October 2, the DART and JTF-LI conducted two deliveries to the hard-to-reach town of Grand Bay in southern Dominica, transporting relief items for the town’s 3,000 residents and replacement pipes for the community’s water distribution network.

USAID/OFDA has led the U.S. Government (USG) international humanitarian response in the Caribbean in the aftermath of destructive hurricanes Irma and Maria. Since early September, the USG has provided more than $12.6 million in humanitarian assistance to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Martin, and Sint Maarten. The DART currently comprises staff in Barbados, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.

To support the GoCD emergency operations center (EOC) and the GoCD-led response to Hurricane Maria, USAID/OFDA deployed two DRMSs based in the region to Dominica on October 1. With years of disaster response management experience and familiarity with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and other regional response mechanisms, the DRMSs will provide technical assistance to support the EOC’s existing capacity. The two newly arrived DRMSs are joining a Dominica-based DRMS, who has been stationed at the EOC since the beginning of the response.

At the request of the UN, USAID/OFDA has deployed a four-person Americas Support Team (AST) to Dominica. On September 29, the AST arrived on the island to provide administrative and logistical support to the UN, including the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team. The AST brought tents, communications equipment, and other resources to assist the UN in coordinating humanitarian response efforts in Dominica.

To facilitate the rapid delivery of assistance throughout Dominica, the DART requested the unique capabilities of DoD through JTF-LI to transport relief items to isolated communities. On October 2, the DART completed two deliveries to the southern Dominican town of Grand Bay, left mostly inaccessible as a result of hurricane-related landslides. To assist Grand Bay’s estimated 3,000 residents, the DART and JTF-LI transported replacement pipes for the Dominica Water and Sewerage Company Limited (DOWASCO) water distribution network, as well as USAID/OFDA-procured blankets, plastic sheeting, and water containers and GoCD-provided food assistance.

As of October 2, more than 2,800 people remained displaced in 88 shelters in Dominica as a result of housing damage resulting from Hurricane Maria, CDEMA reports.

Based on initial observations affirming a critical need for materials to repair roofs damaged by Hurricane Maria’s strong winds, the DART quickly mobilized an initial 400 rolls of plastic sheeting from USAID/OFDA stockpiles in Miami, Florida, to allow disaster-affected households in Dominica to commence shelter repairs. The plastic sheeting arrived on the island during the week of September 25, and the DART began distributions as rapidly as possible in coordination with JTF-LI. The DART also trained a team of local builders to accompany the distributions and demonstrate to community members how to properly affix the material to damaged roofs. Between September 25 and October 2, the DART distributed plastic sheeting to St. Andrew, St. David, St. John, and St. Joseph parishes in northern and eastern Dominica to address the shelter needs of more than 2,500 hurricane-affected households.

As of September 30, DOWASCO had restored services to approximately 9,220 customers, or 16 percent of its total customer base of 57,000 people, according to CDEMA. DOWASCO anticipates fully restoring water services to the capital of Roseau and its surrounding areas by October 7.

The DART’s WASH technical advisor and other humanitarian actors continue to support improved access to safe drinking water for Dominican residents. USAID/OFDA has contributed $200,000 to Samaritan’s Purse to support WASH assistance for more than 14,300 people, or approximately 20 percent of Dominica’s population. Samaritan’s Purse is installing four water filtration and chlorination units in Dominica to improve the availability of safe water for drinking and cooking. The organization is also distributing 20-liter water containers and conducting hygiene promotion sessions for beneficiaries.

According to the UN, the GoCD is working to ensure a continuous flow of food into Dominica, and some supermarkets are expected to re-open in the coming days. Nonetheless, food security actors report that emergency food assistance, particularly for disaster-affected populations in remote locations, and support for agricultural livelihoods remain priority needs.

Two USAID/FFP food security officers joined the DART in Dominica on October 1 and immediately began supporting the DART’s assessment of food security conditions in the country. Initial findings suggest potential gaps in Dominica’s food supply chain. DART members met with food importers, distributors, and retailers, including the country’s largest food importer, to evaluate the food pipeline into Dominica and the strength of markets in Roseau. According to food distributors in the capital, many private enterprises in the food industry lost substantial food stocks following the hurricane, and remaining stocks may be insufficient to supply the country.

On October 2, the DART established a cash and voucher working group, including relief organizations and other donors, to encourage collaboration and coordination on potential market-based emergency food assistance programs to assist hurricane-affected populations in Dominica.

On September 29, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund—a pooled humanitarian fund established and managed by the UN to support sudden-onset and underfunded emergencies—allocated $3 million toward the humanitarian response to Hurricane Maria in Dominica. The funding will support critical assistance efforts undertaken by UN agencies and other relief organizations.

During successive weeks in September, hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria tracked through the Caribbean. The storms, particularly Irma and Maria, brought destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous storm surge to affected islands, leading to at least 52 fatalities and causing significant infrastructure damage across the region.

On September 6, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Lisa A. Johnson issued a disaster declaration in response to the anticipated effects of Hurricane Irma in The Bahamas, and on September 7, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda S. Taglialatela issued a disaster declaration in response to Hurricane Irma and the anticipated effects of Hurricane Jose in Antigua and Barbuda. In response, USAID/OFDA contributed an initial $100,000 each to the Bahamas Red Cross Society and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society.

On September 7, USAID activated a regional DART and stood up a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team to coordinate the USG’s humanitarian response to the hurricanes.

On September 9, U.S. Embassy in Paris Chargé d’Affaires D. Brent Hardt issued a disaster declaration for French Saint-Martin, and on September 10, U.S. Embassy in The Hague Chargé d’Affaires Shawn Crowley declared a disaster for Sint Maarten due to the effects of Hurricane Irma and anticipated effects of Hurricane Jose. In response, USAID/OFDA contributed an initial $100,000 each for activities in Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten.

Following the passage of Hurricane Maria, Ambassador Taglialatela issued disaster declarations for Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis due to the storm impacts. In response, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $100,000 to Dominica and $50,000 to Saint Kitts and Nevis to address priority needs.

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at: USAID Center for International Disaster Information: or +1.202.661.7710. Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at