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.

Our teams worked tirelessly to rebuild the Paix Bouche Primary School and Pre-School in St. Andrew Province and we are pleased to announce that the school has officially been opened. This is one of the first school rebuild projects to be completed in Dominica after Hurricane Maria; it is a significant achievement, which was duly celebrated with an opening ceremony on August 16th. The ceremony was attended by over 250 people and we were honored to have some of our donors in attendance, as well as senior members of the Dominican government, representatives from our international and local partners, and a great presence from the school and village community. At the center of our work are Build Back Better techniques to make the school resistant against future hurricanes and earthquakes. The school provides education for four communities and has been consistently recognized for significantly impacting national development over the last 50 years. As the school has been rebuilt with a disaster resilient design, able to withstand category 5 hurricanes, it will be able to serve as a hurricane evacuation center for community members in the future. This school offers a safe and resilient learning environment for students to continue working towards their dreams.

Realising the immense need that still exists on the island, our teams have now begun work on another Dominican school, the Morne Prosper School. Located high up in the hills of the Roseau Valley, this village school was particularly exposed to the strong hurricane winds of Maria. Two of the primary school classrooms were completely destroyed, while the pre-school lost its roof and all of its contents. The 4 remaining classrooms are now shared between 8 grades, making for a cramped and disruptive learning environment. This is to be our second school rebuild project in Dominica and our staff and volunteers are already making good progress. Excavation of the site is well underway and volunteers have been building a tool shed and bending rebar, which will be used to reinforce the foundations and walls, making it a hurricane and earthquake resistant school.

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. As the 2018 hurricane season has commenced, 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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See our volunteers in action and stay up to date on the latest program activities.

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