UNDP Increases Support for Early Recovery Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Oct 5, 2017

Following the recent hurricanes in the region, UNDP has been engaging governments to offer support in early recovery efforts for affected countries. This early recovery phase is an important bridge between the humanitarian relief and response and the broader long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have caused mass destruction in several countries in the region and thus far, UNDP has allocated US$150,000 for the Eastern Caribbean to support assessments, coordination, and elaboration of recovery frameworks in Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Dominica.

A Regional Response Plan of $15.1 million  has been developed specific to Hurricane Irma, from which the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) recently approved US$300,000 for emergency employment in debris and waste management for the most vulnerable affected families through cash for work (CFW) programmes in Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Debris management is a key part of the recovery process, enabling access to relief supplies, emergency and social services; reducing potential health hazards of vector-borne diseases (e.g. leptospirosis, dengue); respiratory ailments from high volumes of dust; and separation of valuable material for recycling or reconstruction.

In Barbuda, UNDP is currently coordinating the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), being jointly undertaken with the European Union (EU), World Bank and United Nations (UN) system. This is under the leadership of a national assessment team headed by the National Office of Disaster Services. UNDP has deployed a team leader and a housing sector specialist for the PDNA team, and preliminary results have recently been presented to the government.

In response to Hurricane Maria in Dominica, a Flash Appeal for US$31.1 million has been launched and a CERF proposal submitted for the restoration of economic activity through a CFW programme in debris and waste management. The Dominican government has asked UNDP to co-lead a Crisis Management Unit established to oversee the recovery process; therefore, UNDP has deployed a Senior Relief and Recovery Coordinator as Team Leader who is working with government officials to plan the way forward. The PDNA is planned to commence in mid-October and UNDP is working to mobilise partners from the UN System, the EU, World Bank and regional agencies to support the national stakeholders.

Based on early recovery support requests from the governments of the affected Eastern Caribbean countries, UNDP has mobilised or will deploy within the next few days: 4 Recovery Advisors in Barbuda, BVI, and Dominica, and another to CARICOM; 3 Debris Management Specialists and 2 Technical Advisors to support the debris management and reconstruction efforts in Barbuda and Dominica. These have been secured from offices throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and the support teams will expand and transition as early recovery activities accelerate. Over US$6 million have already been mobilised in these early efforts, including US$5 million from the Government of China for roofing reconstruction in Barbuda and Dominica. UNDP is continuing dialogue with the countries to ensure effective support towards building back better and improved resilience of these communities and countries. 

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