Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica last year, WFP’s Logistics Team, with support from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), has been assisting the Government of Dominica as well as the humanitarian community with the storage and distribution of relief cargo such as food and building material across the island.
Six months into the Emergency Operation in Dominica, WFP’s Logistics Team has facilitated and managed the storage of relief cargo for 15 partners including the Government of Dominica, UN partners and NGOs. Thus far, WFP has dispatched over 770 metric tons of relief cargo and 450 cubic metres of roofing material. WFP has also trained the Government of Dominica in humanitarian supply chain, port operations as well as warehouse and commodity management, preparing them to respond to future emergencies.
Currently, WFP is storing and distributing building material, timber and roofing material to various partners in Dominica, including the Government, NGOs and UN agencies. Partners such as UNDP, IFRC, Caritas Antilles, IsraAid and Americares are assisting the Government in rebuilding the country with the assistance of WFP’s Logistics Team.
One of UNDP’s implementing partners, Caritas Antilles, is repairing and rebuilding houses of those most affected in Grand Bay, which has been badly hit by the hurricane. In a country where more than 90% of the roofs were damaged or destroyed, there is a lot of work to be done for organisations such as UNDP and Caritas Antilles. In Grand Bay, Caritas Antilles is helping at least 58 families build a new home and 160 further families will be assisted with building repairs using the building material delivered by WFP.
After arriving in Dominica only three days after the hurricane, Mike, Head of Operations at Caritas Antilles, explains that they had faced logistical issues in assisting their beneficiaries. He says: “I don’t want to say WFP was Godsent, but WFP has really helped us a lot.” Particularly early in the emergency response, there was a lack of coordination as well as major congestion at the port, which has been improved with the help of WFP’s logistics team. This allowed Caritas Antilles and other partners to reach their beneficiaries in the midst of the emergency.
As time is moving on, relief organizations are speeding up reconstruction efforts for those in need. In collaboration with UNDP, the IFRC is constructing a total of 400 houses across the country. IsraAid is also on the ground in collaboration with Digicel whereby Digicel is reconstructing schools and IsraAid is reroofing some of the students’ homes in Atkinson, Castle Bruce, La Plaine, Salybia and Concord. By assisting these partners in storage, operational support and distribution, WFP is making sure that they receive the material needed to provide shelter to those most affected by the hurricane. Jonathan, Team Lead and Programme Manager at Americares, explains that WFP is assisting them in the distribution of building material and emphasized the efficiency and reliability of collaborating with WFP. Americares has reconstructed two primary health care facilities and is currently rebuilding five additional primary health care facilities as well as one central medical store.
Inasmuch as the implementation of a project is important, so is its logistical handling. In an emergency, collaboration between UN agencies, NGOs, the Government and private sector is key. In the case of Dominica, it has materialized into a rapid and successful response to the impacts of Hurricane Maria. This has only been possible thanks to the support of WFP’s donors: European Commission’s DG ECHO, CERF, DFID, Facebook, the Government of the United Arab Emirates, USAID, Google, Sealed Air, Nielsen, Luxemburg, Canada and Cisco Foundation.