Dominicans assess building damages after hurricane with private sector and civil society partnerships

Oct 27, 2017

UNDP, Engineers Without Borders and Microsoft are key allies for the Government of Dominica’s efforts to build back better. Photo: Michael Atwood / UNDP

Roseau, Dominica, 27 October – Around 100 Dominicans—nearly half of them women—are beginning to assess building damages today after completing a three-day training session led by Dominica’s Ministry of Housing, with technical support from UNDP.

This comprehensive building damage assessmentis part of the Government of Dominica’s recovery strategy after category 5 Hurricane Maria decimated the Caribbean island nation. Under the leadership of experts in the field, women and men from different government agencies are putting in practice new skills acquired during the UNDP-backed training with civil society organization Engineers Without Borders, using a tailored app and tablet provided by Microsoft. 

Some thirty teams of inspectors are expected to assess damages of up to 800 buildings per day for the next six to eight weeks. This will enable crucial information such as the level of damage, the types of material required, the volume of debris that will need to be managed, as well as the number of affected people by age, gender and other key information. 

“This is a crucial part of the Government’s effort to build back better so authorities can plan and revise building codes accordingly,” said Ian King, UNDP expert living and working in Dominica since the hurricane hit.

“This enables experts to understand the buildings’ status and help make risk-informed decisions, like which buildings can be reconstructed in a more resilient manner, or which ones need to be brought down for safety purposes. It will also help give a more accurate budget for the entire reconstruction phase,” King added.

Over 90 percent of all buildings—including government facilities— were affected after Hurricane Maria wrought havoc in Dominica. 

A senior UNDP team is working in Dominica, coordinating the UN-wide strategy with the Government and key partners to build a more resilient island nation, with another hurricane season expected only eight months away

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