Quarterly Program Performance Report






Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project

Fourth Quarter, 1994

(October 1, 1994 - December 31, 1994)





Prepared For:

Cooperative Agreement No. 940-1008-A-00-3522-00







Issued By:

Organization of American States

Department of Regional Development and Environment

1889 F Street N.W.

Washington, DC 20011

January 31, 1995



1) Project Description

Based on exploratory work started in early 1991 by the USAID Offices of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Regional Housing and Urban Development Office of the Caribbean (RHUDO/CAR) and subsequent participation of the Housing and Urban Programs (PRE/H), the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP) was formulated, and the Organization of American States was selected as the lead international agency responsible for its implementation. In September 1993, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the US Agency for International Development signed a $5.0 million OFDA funded agreement to provide technical assistance for disaster mitigation in selected nations of the Wider Caribbean Region. The CDMP is scheduled to be implemented over a five year period. The purpose of the project is to establish sustainable public/private sector mechanisms which measurably lessen loss of life, reduce the potential for physical and economic damage, and shorten the disaster recovery period in the project area. Participant nations include the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Belize and the Eastern Caribbean countries which are receiving ongoing assistance from USAID.

The CDMP is being implemented by the OAS Department of Regional Development and Environment (DRDE), in conjunction with RHUDO/CAR, located in the USAID Jamaica mission. and USAID missions in the region. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is providing policy guidance and periodic review of the project. This committee includes representatives from CARICOM, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), RHUDO, OFDA, the USAID Missions in the region, the OAS, and the last coordinator of the Pan-Caribbean Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Project (PCDPPP).

2) Problems Addressed by the Program/Project:

* unsafe location and construction of the built environment,

* limited ability to identify hazard prone areas,

* inadequate technology transfer and institutional development required for disaster mitigation,

* insufficient preparedness and prevention in the non-governmental sectors and lack of coordination with the public sector,

* inadequate insurance underwriting practices region-wide.

3) Project Objectives and Outcomes, and How They Will Be Achieved

The CDMP focuses on major issues in the disaster/development linkage in the Caribbean, which include:

* achieving sustainable development by reducing natural hazard vulnerability in existing and planned development;

* improving public awareness and development decision-making, by accurately mapping hazard prone areas, and;

* better managing natural hazard risk and maintaining adequate catastrophe protection for the region.

The six project outputs are:

1. Community Preparedness -- or "community adoption of self-sustained preparedness practices"

2. Hazard Mapping -- or "providing improved information for risk management"

3. Risk Audits & Lifeline Loss Reduction -- or "reduction of vulnerability of basic infrastructure and critical public facilities"

4. Improved Building Standards and Practices -- or "establish user-friendly, safer building guidelines and applications"

5. Property Insurers' Risk Management -- or "linking insurance prices to risk and improving availability of coverage"

6. Post Disaster Mitigation -- or "incorporating mitigation measures in reconstruction efforts"

Inputs to the project consist of:

* technical assistance

* technology transfer

* public information

* demonstrations

* training

* studies



A) Project Management and Administration Functions

1) Accomplishments during this quarter

The CDMP convened the third Technical Advisory Committee meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, on Dec 12-14, 1994. Participants reviewed the achievements of the project during its first year of operation, particularly the progress of pilot activities. In addition they considered the project objectives and budget for calendar year 1995, and project monitoring and evaluation issues.

2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation

B) Risk Audits and Lifeline/Critical Facility Loss Reduction

1) Accomplishments during the quarter

The pilot-utility vulnerability audit of the facilities owned and operated by the St. Lucia Electric Utility Services Corporation (LUCELEC) and the hydroelectric installations of the Dominica Electric Utility (DOMLEC) was completed during this quarter, and a final report is now being drafted. After review, the findings will be translated into vulnerability reduction recommendations for implementation by both utilities, and into a training manual to be used by CARILEC in its ongoing training programs.

2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation

C) Risk Assessment/Hazard Mapping

1) Accomplishments in the current quarter

a) From October 23 to, 1994, the OAS/USAID-CDMP installed the TAOS Storm Hazard Assessment Model at the Jamaica Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODP) and conducted training sessions in its use for staff representatives from ODP, the Meteorological Office, and a representative of the Jamaica Broadcast Corporation (JBC).

b) On October 26 and 27, 1994, CDMP co-sponsored a Floodplain Hazard Mapping Workshop was held on October 26-27, at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica Auditorium in New Kingston, in collaboration with the Jamaica Hydrological Support Unit of the Underground Water Authority functioning as host. The workshop involved over 120 participants, drawn from such areas as water management, engineering, urban planning, meteorology and agronomy. There were also a number of overseas participants from the U.S.,Belize, and St. Lucia. The workshop generated materials to support training activities in floodplain hazard mapping, and completed floodplain hazard maps of the Hope River, Rio Cobre and Rio Minho.

CDMP presented the results of the coastal flooding and storm surge mapping in Montego Bay. In response to the issues raised by engineers representing large developers in the area, the Jamaica Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODP) and CDMP invited the local association of engineers to collaborate in an analysis of available information on historical storm surge events in MoBay, and in comparing the findings with the CDMP model outputs for the same storm events. to review the method whereby storm events and return periods are defined.


c) From December 5 to 9, CDMP installed the Real Time Forecasting (RTFS) application of the TAOS storm hazard assessment model in the Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI)in Barbados. Staff of the CMI, the meteorologist of the National Meteorological Service, and the information officer of CDERA were trained in its application. A memorandum of understanding was prepared between the OAS and CMI licensing CMI in the use of the model software for training purposes, and allowing CMI to install it in selected national meteorological offices after staff of such offices have been duly trained.

d)From December 14 to 20, trainers of Clark University's Department of Geographic Information Systems (Worcester, MA - USA), conducted a one week GIS training course in IDRISI at the Jamaica College of Arts and Sciences (CAST), attended by 16 participants selected by CDMP from institutions participating in the project's technical working group. Nine received certificates of completion for participating on a full-time basis, and according to the trainers evaluation, five were considered to have reached a level adequate to develop GIS applications of the CDMP hazard maps.


2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation


D) Improved Building Standards, Codes and Practices

A. Joint Building Code Strengthening Exercise for OECS Countries with UNDP/UNCHS

1) Accomplishments this quarter

Start-up of activities in this area have been delayed, due the delay in receiving comments on the draft documents from the participating countries (Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia).

The UNCHS and CDMP have finalized the selection of an international and a local (Antigua and Barbuda) consultant.

A Memorandum of Understanding detailing the terms of the joint exercise was approved by the UNCHS headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and the OAS.

2) Accomplishments to-date, since program initiation

B. St. Lucia and Dominica Low Income Housing Retrofit Pilot Projects

1) Accomplishments this quarter

In St. Lucia, CARITAS, the project's lead NGO, has developed and implemented a community beneficiary outreach/training program. The community beneficiary outreach/training program presented the project to 45 families (average St. Lucian family size = 6 members), of which 15 in Gros Islet and 14 in Dennery were approved by the NRDF for loan processing. The loans which they will receive must be used to contract builders who have completed the Hurricane Vulnerability Reduction Construction Methods training course conducted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC). The first course graduated 15 trainees as of late December, in time for the start-up of retrofitting of selected homes and disbursement of the first loans in early 1995.

The CDMP team visited the country, and extensive coverage in the mass media, and public outreach and awareness components of the project were organized during this period. Meetings were held with 4 St. Lucian banks, with the objective of securing contributions of EC$50,000 to EC$100,000 from each to supplement the project's revolving loan fund.

The CDMP team also visited Dominica in early December. With the completion of the transition in leadership at the National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD), the lead NGO for the Dominican pilot, the project has been rapidly brought up to speed. Preliminary planning and loan criteria for the 12 villages targeted for training and initial activities has been completed. A Technical Retrofit Credit Study has also been completed with the purpose of facilitating a CHF contribution of US$35,000 to the revolving loan fund. The first outreach programs have been presented in the target communities of the Carib Territory, Scotshead and Petite Savant. Technical trainers and informal construction sector trainees have been identified to participate in a pilot training class in January 1995. The first loans for this project will be disbursed to target communities in the Spring of 1995.

In both countries, loans will be disbursed to qualified homeowners in selected communities to contract trained builders to retrofit/construct their homes according to natural hazard vulnerability mitigation criteria following the preparation of training materials and training of builders.

2) Accomplishments to date, since program initiation

E) Property Insurers' Risk Management

1) Accomplishments during this quarter

In association with the Jamaica Association of General Insurance Companies (JAGIC), the OAS/CDMP convened a seminar for Senior Insurance Management Executives on "Sector Initiatives in Underwriting and Probable Maximum Loss Calculation for Improved Reinsurance Availability". This conference was held in Kingston, Jamaica, from November 17-18, and featured presentations by the Insurance institute for Property Loss Reduction (IIPLR) and by experts from the region. The general purpose of the seminar was to initiate collaborative activities with the insurance sector to improve risk management and overcome obstacles to the availability of reinsurance and natural hazard peril insurance coverage in the region. The specific purpose of the seminar was to determine the training needs in the priority action areas of improving underwriting practices, conducting Probable Maximum Loss (PML) calculations and consolidating aggregate control data.

The conference was attended by approximately 60 participants from seven countries (Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Belize and the USA) representing individual insurance companies, brokers, industry associations and training institutions, government officials, and the directors of CDERA and the Insurance Association of the Caribbean (IAC).

Working groups discussed specific training needs related to the priority action areas, and made the following recommendations:

* improving industry skills in underwriting, by providing insurance agents with a basic vocabulary and understanding of building components and their interaction with natural hazards such as wind, torrential rain, surge tides and earthquakes.

* improving the use of information about hazards and the geographical areas they threaten, so that underwriters can better differentiate between hazard exposure and risk levels for different types of hazards;

* encouraging local insurance companies to share and cooperate in the efficient and timely use of information to improve underwriting and loss estimation;

* improving existing mechanisms and creating new mechanisms that can enable national associations and training facilities, and regional associations and organizations to respond to internal and external needs for better loss calculations, information management and training.

The participants concluded that CDMP should draft a technical assistance strategy proposal for consideration by the CARICOM Working Party on Insurance and Reinsurance. Work has started on this proposal and will be submitted early 1995.


2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation


F) Community Disaster Preparedness: Dominican Republic Pilot

1) Accomplishments during this quarter

a) The local CDMP project officer was instrumental in the transition to a Permanent Advisory Committee for the project. The following private sector organizations were confirmed as advisory committee members: CODETEL, FALCONBRIDGE, Sea-Land Service, La Compania Nacional de Seguros, el Grupo E. Leon Jimenes, and the Camara Dominicana de Aseguradores y Reaseguradores (suplente). NGO participants are: CARE, Fundacion contra el Hambre, Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarollo Integral (IDDI). On October 12 the first Permanent Advisory Committee Meeting was held to orient the participants. Subsequent meetings were dedicated to the formulation of the project's strategic elements, the formation of an operational unit for the project. The project will continue to focus on establishing an effective coordinating mechanism for emergency preparedness within the private and NGO sectors, and will select community based sub-projects for financing during Phase 2.

b) The Committee held a major public seminar on November 10 to present the project strategy to more than 175 representatives of the private sector, the public sector and NGO community.

c) CDMP, CARE Dominicana and USAID/OFDA Costa Rica co-sponsored a training course in disaster management from October 24 to 28 in Santiago. This course was attended by 28 people, representing member organization of the CDMP Advisory Committee such as the Red Cross, Civil Defense, and several national NGO's and private companies. The course is the first module in a five-part series of based on the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) method entitled "Focussing on Methodology: Techniques for Designing Training Materials". The series is divided into two parts: a general course on Disaster Administration and a Special Workshop for Instructors, which includes advanced techniques in disaster administration, and training in evaluation of damage and needs assessment. One module is presented every 2 months, and the next module will be presented in January.

2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation


G) Post Disaster Mitigation Missions

1) Accomplishments during this quarter

a) Tropical Storm "Debbie" hit St Lucia in the morning of Sept.10, bringing rainfall estimated at 10" in 12 hours, causing extensive flooding and over 200 landslides. The storm killed 4 people, damaged hundreds of houses, disrupted the island's water system, severely damaged the Roseau Dam (under construction), destroyed 60 - 80 percent of the banana crop, blocked most of the roads through the interior, and destroyed several bridges and culverts which had been designed to withstand 50 year storms.

b) An interagency donors meeting, chaired by the acting resident representative of the UNDP, was convened in Barbados on Sept. 15, to coordinate donor assistance to St. Lucia. In that meeting the OAS was identified as a source of assistance for post-disaster mitigation. Subsequent to communication with the participants of this meeting, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia formally requested assistance from the international donor community in preparing a reconstruction program and proposing longer term measures for sustainable watershed management.

c) In response to this request, a CDMP Post Disaster Mission team was dispatched to St. Lucia between Oct 27 - Nov. 2. The team, comprised of a US Forest Service landslide specialist and a geotechnical engineering consultant, in coordination with the OAS office director, worked closely with a World Bank team to carry out an inventory and analysis of the impacts of the landslides caused by the storm. A follow-up mission by the geothechnical engineering consultant was carried out in mid-November.

d) The CDMP is now preparing an updated landslide hazard map and is drafting recommendations which describe methods for using post-Debbie information to promote landslide resistant design of roads and infrastructure, landslide avoidance through land use controls, and farm practices that ensure greater hillside stability. The recommendations will be incorporated in a World Bank sponsored Post-Debbie Reconstruction Program, which includes the creation of a National Watershed Management Plan, and has been earmarked for US$13.8 million of World Bank funding, of which US$3.96 million will be expended during Phase I in 1994/95.

2) Accomplishments to-date since program initiation

III) Conclusions and Recommendations

Programming, Planning, and the Technical Advisory Committee

In its first year of operation the CDMP has progressed as planned. On June 29, 1993, prior to official initiation of the project, representatives of RHUDO/CAR, OAS, OFDA, and BHM (all members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)) met to discuss a planning and evaluation strategy. Based on their discussions, the eight original project "outputs" noted in the project agreement were consolidated to produce five project "outputs" (See Section I - "Program Overview"). A sixth output, "Post Disaster Mitigation", was added by the expanded regional membership of TAC. This flexibility in programming and planning as determined by review and collaboration of TAC members has been essential in streamlining operations and focussing resources towards opportunities which have proven to be the most productive.

Achieving the Project Purpose

Progress in advancing the project purpose of "establishing sustainable public/private sector mechanisms which measurably lessen loss of life, reduce the potential for physical and economic damage, and shorten the recovery period in the project area" is clearly contingent on the adoption of mitigation and preparedness practices by governments, private organizations, investors, insurers, and communities. This may not be measurable during the project period, especially if significant natural hazard events do not occur after such mechanisms have been established. Such region-wide adoption is in turn contingent on the success of pilot project activities.

Achieving Project Objectives

The project objective of "increasing the number of governments, private organizations and communities adopting and investing in recommended mitigation and preparedness practices" is measurably progressing. Common obstacles to this progress have been the lack of commitment of national agency counterparts and their inability to provide essential staff time and support resources - a situation often caused by the inter-agency political process. This has most notably been observed in the "Risk Assessment/Hazard Mapping" activities in Jamaica, where counterparts have been unable to dedicate the necessary staff time and hardware platforms as was agreed when collaboration with CDMP started. To overcome this, the CDMP has contracted individual lead agencies to produce specific outputs or lead regional workshops. Another strategy has been to increase efforts to obtain support for the project from the political directorate of the country.

Collaboration Between the Private and Public Sectors

A strategy for increasing effective collaboration between the private and public sectors has emerged: given the limited resources available through the CDMP, project information is targeted at senior level management in the context of joint exercises and workshops. This insures broad, industry-wide project dissemination and provides formal opportunities for private and public sector officials to meet and interact. To increase the number of communities which plan to invest in vulnerability preparedness and mitigation, the CDMP approach identifies government agencies and private sector organizations that have already established a working relationship with existing communities, and seeks to direct their joint efforts towards project objectives. This has involved the funding of regional and national surveys and the establishment of national-level Planning and Advisory Committees to develop mechanisms to respond to community-based initiatives.

Technical Working Groups and National Planning Advisory Committees: Abilities and Limits

The preferred means of overcoming obstacles to project performance and progress has been to negotiate solutions through the establishment of Technical Working Groups (TWG) and National Advisory Committees, which serve as fora for government agency and private sector representatives to meet, collaborate, exchange expertise and share resources. While this approach has proved to be effective, it has limitations: TWG's have been observed to disintegrate despite the best efforts of the members and the CDMP, often because member institutions may be experiencing organizational changes and financial stress for reasons unrelated to the CDMP. This results in their inability to maintain necessary participation in project activities. In these events the CDMP has dedicated extra resources to strengthening existing institutions to achieve project objectives. In the long-term, the CDMP may have to collaborate with other international donor agencies or well funded private sector institutions who are willing to underwrite more extensive hiring of dedicated national project staff and the purchase of necessary equipment. The best test of the committment of a collaborating government agency is its ability to contribute the needed human resources and equipment.


The CDMP's potential for achieving long-term measureable results lies in its ability, over the relatively short-term of the project period, to enable the disaster management and development planning communities in the region to develop an economy of scale for training activities and technology transfer, and to collaborate and share their expertise with those working in other sectors. The current project budget can only support careful selection and oversight of a limited number of pilot projects. However, the pilot projects have been designed to yield easily replicable methods and mechanisms for wide-spread dissemination of disaster preparedness and mitigation practices at the local, sectoral, national and regional scales. If the overall project continues along its current course, clearly identified pilot project milestones will continue to be met, information on pilot project success (or failure) will continue to be clearly documented and disseminated, and essential gaps in disaster mitigation will continue to be addressed by well trained and equipped professionals, and well informed and empowered communities. The ultimate test of the success of the CDMP will be the measurement of reduced impacts after the occurance of significant natural hazard events in the project area; events which may not occur until long after the project has achieved its short-term objectives.