Dominica Hurricane Relief
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Program Summary

On September 18, 2017, the worst natural disaster in the history of Dominica ravaged this small island nation. With wind gales as strong as 160 mph, Hurricane Maria tore through the country, damaging 90% of all structures and knocking out all power, water and telecommunications. Hurricane Maria also obliterated 100% of agriculture – a major source of income. Damages and losses are estimated at USD $1.3m, or 224% of Dominica’s GDP. Sadly, 31 individuals lost their lives through this devastating disaster whilst a further 3,000 individuals were displaced. Our team has stepped in to help with the island’s greatest recovery needs – getting children back to school and roofs back on homes.

We have been focusing our efforts in Dominica on rebuilding schools and repairing residential roofs. Having completed our first project, rebuilding the Paix Bouche Pre and Primary School in the St. Andrew Province, we are now focusing on rebuilding the Morne Prosper Pre and Primary School in the St. George Province. We will also be starting our third school project soon, at Charlotte’s Preschool in Newton. At the center of our work are Build Back Better techniques to make schools and roofs resistant against future hurricanes and earthquakes. Working closely with the Ministry of Education, other NGOs, the schools and local communities, this essential work will create much safer homes and more resilient learning environments, which also serve as evacuation shelters for surrounding communities.

In response to the housing crisis in Dominica, our teams began work to help repair and rebuild many of the roofs that were destroyed during the devastating 2017 hurricanes. The project initially focused on the small coastal town of Calibishie – thanks so the hard work of our volunteers and partners, our efforts in Calibishie were a success and we have now begun roofing projects in the Morne Prosper area. With over 90% of roofs lost during Hurricane Maria, this is an area of great need in Dominica. Repairing roofs in a disaster-resilient way is essential in not only rebuilding communities but rebuilding hope for the future.

Featured Video

All Hands and Hearts team captured first-hands accounts from students, teachers, and community members impacted by the hurricanes.

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Schools in Progress

Program Work

Our work in Dominica has been focused on rebuilding schools and we have now begun work on our second Dominican School. We are also helping to repair and rebuild roofs on homes in the Morne Prosper area, having successfully completed our roofing projects in the Calibishi area.

Male Volunteer in Dominica

Repairing and rebuilding roofs

A new, sustainable and hurricane-resilient roof will be installed, made with durable, high-quality hardwood. The roof will be anchored with hurricane ties, and the pitch of the roof will be amended to meet the hurricane-resistant level. Roof guttering will be also be added.

Male Volunteer in Dominica

Repairing and rebuilding roofs

A new, sustainable and hurricane-resilient roof will be installed, made with durable, high-quality hardwood. The roof will be anchored with hurricane ties, and the pitch of the roof will be amended to meet the hurricane-resistant level. Roof guttering will be also be added.

Retrofitting schools

Upon evaluating the Paix Bouche Pre-school, we discovered that the walls were built without structural reinforcements. Since Dominica is at high risk of earthquakes, the walls will be taken down and rebuilt to add vertical and horizontal steel reinforcements, making them more resistant to seismic activity.

Retrofit Schools in Dominica
Retrofit Schools in Dominica

Retrofitting schools

Upon evaluating the Paix Bouche Pre-school, we discovered that the walls were built without structural reinforcements. Since Dominica is at high risk of earthquakes, the walls will be taken down and rebuilt to add vertical and horizontal steel reinforcements, making them more resistant to seismic activity.

Installing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) facilities

"Water Sanitation and Hygiene initiatives aim to improve the health of children and community members by reducing the incidence of water and sanitation-related illnesses. All Hands and Hearts has improved both the physical environment and cleanliness schools by adding facilities like hand-washing stations and toilets and also taught life skills and hygiene behaviors like tooth brushing. New toilets and sinks will be installed at the Paix Bouche school, and the restroom area will be rebuilt. Our plan will create access to restrooms from inside the school facility.

Installing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) facilities

"Water Sanitation and Hygiene initiatives aim to improve the health of children and community members by reducing the incidence of water and sanitation-related illnesses. All Hands and Hearts has improved both the physical environment and cleanliness schools by adding facilities like hand-washing stations and toilets and also taught life skills and hygiene behaviors like tooth brushing. New toilets and sinks will be installed at the Paix Bouche school, and the restroom area will be rebuilt. Our plan will create access to restrooms from inside the school facility.

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The Nature Isle

Hurricane Maria struck Dominica, preceded by heavy rainfall and landslides which cleaved away swathes of rainforest. Our team reports on this island’s recovery.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy

Cindy from New York City volunteered in Paix Bouche.

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Program snapshot

See our volunteers in action and stay up to date on the latest program activities.

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