Quarterly Program Performance Report






Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project

Second Quarter, 1997

(April–June, 1997)





Prepared For:

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







Issued By:

Organization of American States

Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment

1889 F Street N.W.

Washington, DC 20011

July 30, 1997



TAOS Update and Training

A significant update to the TAOS storm hazard model was completed during this quarter. In this update, a windows-based, menu-driven user interface and a wave module were added to TAOS. The GraDS meteorological data display program is now distributed with TAOS to display model results. Further extensions of the model are planned in the next quarter, including a module for more automated production of Maximum Envelopes of Water (MEOW) maps. Copies of the model were distributed to the Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI), the Belize Hydro-Met office and the Jamaica Natural Resources Conservation Authority, after staff from these agencies were trained on the use of this model.

United Insurance Company of Barbados

In May, the United Insurance Company of Barbados became the first Caribbean insurance company to provide policyholders with incentives—through substantial premium reductions—to undertake hazard mitigation measures. As part of this program, United has developed and distributed manuals on hurricane-resistant housing construction and retrofitting. CDMP’s role in promoting this approach was underscored by United Insurance’s invitation to CDMP to be an official part of the public launching of the program.

Campeche—an impact

The Emergency Center in Campeche, Mexico, requested a license for use of the TAOS model. CDMP has agreed to provide Campeche with the TAOS model, and provide training and installation support. The Campeche Emergency Center is covering all CDMP costs, including expansion of the database, installation and training. This adoption by a non-CDMP country of a tool and hazard assessment methodology developed with CDMP assistance demonstrates the applicability of the CDMP approach throughout the region.

Dominican Republic

The CDMD completed the improvement of 400 meters of drainage canals in the community Las Miches. This will significantly alleviate chronic localized flooding that affected 300 households directly and another 1000 indirectly. CDMP, through CDMD, contributed approximately $10,000, with the community contributing twice that amount in labor, transport of materials, and inputs by an engineer and building technicians.



Attached to this quarterly report are:




Project Management and Administration Functions

CDMP Sustainability and Regional Project Coordination plans

In response to requests of the project Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the CDMP developed a Strategy for Long-term Sustainability of project activities and a Transition Plan for CDMP Regional Coordination, both of which were circulated for review during this quarter. Final versions of each are attached to this quarterly report. The sustainability plan identified three key elements for sustainability: integration of CDMP objectives and activities into the portfolios of existing institutions; achievement of critical political support for disaster mitigation and vulnerability reduction; and identification of sources of future technical and financial support. Efforts continue to ensure that these elements are incorporated into all project activities, where appropriate, to ensure long-term sustainability of CDMP hazard mitigation activities and initiatives. The transition plan identifies the distribution of responsibilities formerly housed in the project regional office in Jamaica. This transition plan has been fully implemented.

Project Information Dissemination

As part of its participation in the Insurance Association of the Caribbean conference in June, CDMP distributed to conference participants copies of the project reports Insurance, Reinsurance and Catastrophe Protection in the Caribbean and Estimation of Building Damage as a Result of Hurricanes in the Caribbean. CDMP had copies of other project documents and descriptive information available for review at the conference.

In the newly issued Red Cross World Disasters Report 1997, the section on Caribbean disasters describes CDMP activities and references reports produced by the project. The World Disasters Report will soon be available on the Red Cross web site at http://www.ifrc.org.

CDMP participated in the Caribbean and Insular States session of the National Hurricane Conference, held in April in Houston Texas. At this session, which was chaired by the CDMP project manager, the USAID Regional Disaster Advisor presented information on project activities. In conjunction with the upcoming CDMP school/shelter vulnerability audit, CDMP consultant Tony Gibbs made a presentation on the vulnerability of schools to natural hazards.

CDMP project information was also distributed to participants in the workshop Integrated Water Resources Management in the Caribbean: Institutional and Policy Reforms, held in June in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

The CDMP web site remains active. There have been 480 "hits" (visits of 10 minutes or longer) to this web site from 16 countries since its inception. Recent updates to the web site include updated information on storm hazards and new links to related organizations and projects.

CDMP activities were covered in various news media throughout this quarter. A television station in Savannah GA produced a report on the TAOS training conducted there in May (see section 3.4 below). The United Insurance of Barbados press conference (section 7), in which CDMP was invited to participate, was covered by a number of newspapers and television stations in Barbados.

Note: Section numbers in subsequent section refer to those in the 1997 CDMP rolling work plan. Numbers skipped in the sequence represent elements for which there was no activity during this quarter.



3.1 Jamaica

Montego Bay Hazard Mapping

CDMP has begun a statistical study of return times of storms and storm surges throughout the Caribbean. The goal of this work is development of a statistically valid methodology for estimating return times for storm surge at any location within the region. Combining the results of this study with the TAOS model will enable the production of maps similar to flood maps, which show the areas affected by flooding [surge] and the return times for those events. Both the initial statistical study and applications of this work will make extensive use of the TAOS model. Montego Bay was selected as the case study location for this study; wave and surge effects on Montego Bay from all storms in the National Hurricane Center’s database (951 storms) were modeled using TAOS to develop a comprehensive database for this statistical study.

During this quarter, CDMP received information from the Jamaica Institute of Engineers (JIE) on historical storms that have affected Montego Bay. The JIE selected three storms to be run by the TAOS model—Nov 1912, 29 Oct 1933 and 20 Aug 1944. CDMP consultant Watson used the new version of the TAOS model to produce maps of the storm surge effects from these three historical storms. In the next quarter, an independent reviewer contracted by CDMP will compare surge information from TAOS to historical records of surge from these storms.

Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment (KMA)

Seismic Hazard Assessment: Phase I of the seismic hazard assessment will be complete at the end of the next quarter. Products of this project phase include an earthquake catalog, a seismic attenuation model and a bibliography. A geologic map series, including a digital terrain model and maps of surface geology, depth to bedrock and groundwater, is included in Phase I. Phase II of the seismic hazard assessment will begin in the next quarter.

Landslide Hazard Assessment: Field work and aerial photograph interpretation for the landslide hazard assessment has been completed. Work on the final landslide susceptibility map continued throughout this quarter. Difficulties in obtaining topographic map information of the appropriate contour interval caused delays in this project. In the absence of these data it was decided to adjust the methodology and to digitize the 1:50,000 scale elevation data as a basis for the landslide susceptibility mapping. This work will begin early in the next quarter. Development of the Landslide Reduction Manual has begun. The KMA landslide hazard assessment is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Coastal Storm Hazard Assessment: The coastal hazard assessment of the KMA will be conducted by the Jamaica Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), with the assistance of CDMP. A copy of the TAOS model was installed at the NRCA and a representative of the NRCA was trained in the use and application of the TAOS model at a training session conducted in May by CDMP. (See section 3.4 below.)

Multi-hazard Mapping: CDMP developed a work plan for the integration of the landslide, seismic and coastal storm hazard assessments into a common GIS database and the production of a series of maps from this database. Once the GIS database is complete, CDMP will deliver this database to all appropriate agencies in Jamaica and train staff on its use.

CDMP also began discussions with the French-sponsored GEMITIS Programme, which aims to increase the capacity of urban areas throughout the Caribbean to withstand the effects of natural hazards. GEMITIS has expressed interest in coordinating work with the Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment (KMA).

The members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the KMA were notified of the disbanding of the TWG, as outlined in the Transition Plan for CDMP Regional Coordination. Coordination of the KMA within Jamaica will be continued as part of the multi-hazard mapping work.

3.3 Dominica Sea Defence Study

Engineering consultants to the Government of Dominica supplied further geo-technical reports for use in developing final engineering designs for the sea defence rehabilitation project. CDMP reviewed these new reports and again found them inadequate to support final engineering designs. The Government of Dominica was informed of these findings. Further work on this project is contingent on sufficient geo-technical information on the rehabilitation sites.

3.4 Regional Hurricane Preparedness and Mitigation

Regional Storm Assessment

A significant update to the TAOS storm hazard model was completed during this quarter. In this update, a windows-based, menu-driven user interface and a wave module were added to TAOS. The GraDS meteorological data display program is now distributed with TAOS to display model results. Further extensions of the model are planned in the next quarter, including a module for more automated production of Maximum Envelopes of Water (MEOW) maps. Copies of the model were distributed to the Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI), the Belize Hydro-Met office and the Jamaica Natural Resources Conservation Authority, after staff from these agencies were trained on the use of this model. During the next quarter, CMI will begin development of MEOWs for one of the islands covered by the CDMP.

Preparedness and Mitigation Training

National Level Mitigation Planning: All preparatory work was completed for the upcoming workshop on Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning, to be held at the beginning of the next quarter in St. Lucia. This workshop is co-sponsored by USAID/CDMP and CDERA/DERMS. Participants will include national disaster coordinators and national development planners from throughout the Caribbean. CDMP completed a mitigation planning manual and other reference materials, for use during and after the workshop.

TAOS Model Training: CDMP held a training workshop for the new version of the TAOS model on May 8–9 in Savannah, Georgia. Workshop attendees included representatives of the Caribbean Meteorological Institute, the Belize Hydro-Met office and the Jamaican Natural Resources Conservation Authority—the institutions in the Caribbean that will be the first users of the TAOS model. The objectives of this workshop were to familiarize users of the TAOS model with the model’s origins, applications, features and limitations and to give participants sufficient experience with the model to be able to run and apply the model within their home institutions. Changes to the model that were suggested at this workshop were incorporated in to the version of the model released in June. Planning is underway for a larger, regional TAOS training to be held at CMI in December 1997.

Integrating Hazards Information into Planning: The development of guidelines for integrating hazards and hazards assessments into the development planning process is a significant component of both the Montego Bay Hazard Mapping project and the Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment. The hazard mitigation planning methodology developed for the workshop in St. Lucia provides a consistent framework for these guidelines.

Campeche, Mexico Emergency Center

The Emergency Center in Campeche, Mexico requested a license for use of the TAOS model at that center. CDMP has agreed to provide Campeche with the TAOS model, similar to the one installed at CMI, NRCA Jamaica and the Hydro-Met Office of Belize, and provide training and installation support. Because the data sets provided with the current Caribbean version of TAOS did not cover Mexico, CDMP created new data sets and extended the map overlays to include areas served by the center. Installation of the model and on-site training are scheduled to be complete by the end of July. The Campeche Emergency Center is covering all CDMP costs, including expansion of the database, installation and training.

4. Community Disaster Preparedness

4.1 Dominican Republic

The Comite Dominicano de Mitigacion de Desastres (CDMD) continued implementation of CDMP activities in the Dominican Republic during this quarter. CDMD lost several affiliated members due to departure from the country, but replaced most with new members, closing the quarter with a total at 30 affiliated organizations and associations.

Disaster management Training: The private sector is demanding specific and targeted training, rather than the standard OFDA-type disaster management training course. In response, the CDMD has developed a menu of short and specialized training and assistance activities it can provide. This menu will be reviewed by the board, and will be widely disseminated.

Coordination and Communication: During this quarter, CDMD obtained 40 minutes of free TV time to promote disaster preparedness, and produced several press releases on CDMP-supported activities. A large insurance company sponsored an architectural magazine article, written by CDMD and SODOSISMICA, on earthquake resistant design. Staff and board members of CDMD held 22 public awareness meetings with businesses, community and government agencies, and made 33 presentations to more than 2,000 people. CDMD also facilitated duplication and dissemination of relevant information for schools and community organizations. CDMD continued to work with SODOSISMICA on a video about structural vulnerability and mitigation. CDMD organized a meeting of the Schools Disaster Coordination network, and urged the hotel industry to support a similar initiative.

Community Education: A total of 78 community disaster preparedness workshops were sponsored by CDMD, reaching 1,950 adults. This exceeded the target of 36 workshops. Since October 1995, 227 workshops have been held, reaching more that 6,800 adults. As a result, many of the communities have re-established, or initiated, Red Cross or Civil Defense chapters, and have identified and implemented small projects that reduce their vulnerability. The Red Cross will co-sponsor another evaluation seminar for community workshop facilitators to assess the program’s impact during the next quarter.

Information: The 6th CDMD bulletin was distributed to more than 2000 agencies and business enterprises. Systematic distribution of brochures continued. CDMD has now more than 60 informative videotapes available for use. CDMD and SODOSISMICA also held a seminar at the University (PUCMM) on the preliminary results of the paleoseismic investigation of the septentrional fault, undertaken by the Universities of Maryland, Texas and California, and the USGS.

Community Initiatives: The Miches drainage improvement project was successfully completed, with 70% of the value provided by the community. Work in the San Luis community continued. Four more proposals were received and reviewed, and two were approved and initiated during this period: one in Elias Pina, and one in Haina.

4.2 Haiti

Project activities during this quarter continued to focus on Jacmel and Les Cayes. The CDMP national coordinator made several visits to the "Comité de Mitigation et de Gestion de Désastres/Jacmel", which was established in the previous quarter. The visits were dedicated to increasing the awareness of its members regarding hazard issues and disaster management, organizing role-playing exercises, and assisting the committee in preparing an emergency response plan.

The consulting firm CHF-Haiti submitted a first draft of the vulnerability study of Jacmel. This first draft was reviewed by the national coordinator and by the CDMP project manager. The study team also made a presentation of its preliminary findings to the Committee members in Jacmel.

During this period, the CDMP national coordinator also started with the establishment of a local disaster management committee in Les Cayes, and he held meetings with several of the NGOs that have operations in the southern peninsula, and whose staff also serve on the local committees.

The translation into French of the OFDA train the trainer manual was reviewed, and additional editing and corrections were made. The task should be completed early next quarter. From June 2 to 5, the CDMP national coordinator and the USAID-HAITI environmental officer responsible for the CDMP also participated in the Western Hemispheric Defense Environmental Conference in Miami, at the invitation of the US Government.


5. Lifeline Loss Reduction

5.1 Electrical Utility Pilot Vulnerability Audit

CDMP developed a ‘Proposal for Hazard Vulnerability Audits for Caribbean Electrical Utilities.’ This proposal was sent to CARILEC and the Caribbean Development Bank for review and comment. Components of this regional program would include audits of electrical infrastructure for vulnerability to natural hazards, system-wide loss control studies, cost-benefit analysis of new construction vs. upgrading, and design optimization for minimum life cycle costs. Based on responses to this proposal, CDMP will produce a position paper, which describes the effects that damage to lifeline electrical infrastructure by natural disasters can have on a country’s economy and rebuilding efforts.

5.2 Dominican Republic Lifeline Audit

At the urging of the CDMD, the Hotel Association of the Dominican Republic has started translating into Spanish the Disaster Preparedness Manual prepared by the CTO/Caribbean Hotel Association. CDMD and the Association will develop a training program to accompany the distribution of this manual to the Association’s members.

5.3 School/shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS

Under this activity, CDMP and CDB will collaborate in assisting participating OECS countries with the retrofitting of critical schools and shelters. CDMP will undertake the feasibility study, while CDB will make available loan funds for implementation of retrofitting work. CDB has formally invited the Heads of Government of each Eastern Caribbean country to join this project.

During this quarter, CDMP prepared a draft scope of work for a classification and vulnerability audit of schools and shelters in participating countries. The draft scope of work was sent to the CDB for review. Comments are awaited early during the next quarter.

6. Building Standards and Practices

Many factors determine the ability of a building to withstand the effects of tropical storms. The majority of these factors, including building design, materials, and location, are decided at the beginning of a building’s life. During this quarter, CDMP began to prepare the terms of reference for a study of selected infrastructure projects that have failed due to the effects of tropical storms. The goal of this study is to determine where in the planning and decision-making processes for these development projects decisions were made that compromised their ability to withstand storm effects and why those compromises were made. This study will provide critical insight into how to better support the incorporation of mitigation measures in major development projects.

During this quarter, CDMP consultant Al Wason reviewed projects throughout the region that have failed due to storm impacts to select appropriate case studies. Eight projects were reviewed and ranked based on the availability of information on the project design and construction, project funding sources and commonality of the project with others that may be built in the future. During the next phase of this study, two to three projects will be chosen as case studies. Information on the funding, design and construction of these projects will be collected, along with reports on cause of project failure and the information on storm that precipitated the failure.


6.1 Informal Housing Retrofit

Significant interest in the CDMP safer housing initiatives was expressed during this quarter. The Government of Grenada negotiated a loan with the Caribbean Development Bank to support housing development and retrofitting. The Government of Grenada formally requested the assistance of CDMP in the structuring this program and the provision of CDMP technical materials on hazard-resistant design and construction. CDMP is investigating the types of assistance that it can provide. Discussions with Grenada will continue in the next quarter.

The Caribbean Development Bank has recently made loan funds available to support low-income housing. These funds supplement standard housing loan funds that were previously available from the CDB. Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are presently accessing these low-income housing funds. CDMP is in contact with CDB to facilitate access to these funds by participating countries.

An update to the Safer Housing Toolkit was produced during this quarter, to be reproduced and distributed during the next quarter.

St. Lucia

Both the training and loan provision components of the St. Lucia Hurricane Resistant Home Improvement Program continued during this quarter. Ten persons were trained on-site in retrofitting techniques. The guidebook Basic Minimum Standards for Retrofitting was updated for use in this training course. Improvements and hurricane retrofitting were completed on eight homes with previously approved loans, and twenty new loan applications are currently being processed. Special attention must be paid in the upcoming quarter to the repayment of existing loans, as the number of repayments in arrears has grown over this quarter.

CDMP undertook a study of the hurricane-resistant home improvement activities in St. Lucia to ensure that the minimum standards for hurricane resistance are met. Existing guidelines and procedures were reviewed to determine if alterations are required. Ten completed or nearly completed houses were also inspected as part of this review. Recommendations were made to both CARITAS and NRDF on how to build minimum standards more fully into their programs. All of these recommendations are already fully described in the document Basic Minimum Standards for Retrofitting.


Activities in Dominica focused on expanding awareness of the need for hurricane retrofitting and the existence of the retrofitting loan program. This awareness campaign included newspaper and cable TV advertisements and presentations at community schools. Twenty-four loan inquiries were generated, resulting in ten loan applications, which are presently under review, with one already approved. Four of the original seven loans have been repaid in full. The board of the National Development Foundation of Dominica approved a loan program to supplement the funds available under the CDMP.

Antigua and Barbuda

CDMP finalized an agreement with the National Development Foundation of Antigua and Barbuda to support a Hurricane Resistant Home Improvement Program. CDMP assistance will include partial support for a director for this program, funding of a two-week attachment to the CDMP-sponsored housing retrofit program in Dominica and coordination with the Cooperative Housing Foundation for access to loan funds.

Work with Credit Unions

CDMP began discussions with credit unions in Jamaica regarding the inclusion of safer construction and housing retrofitting into their house construction and renovation loan programs. Two credit unions have expressed interest in such assistance. CDMP will continue discussions with these institutions in the next quarter.

6.2 Building Code Administration

During this quarter, St. Lucia, with the assistance of CDMP and UNCHS, completed the development of a draft national building code. This draft code is under review by the government.

6.3 Training Curriculum Development

CDMP prepared a project proposal for development of a natural hazards training curriculum (see attached.) The goal of this proposed project is to facilitate the inclusion of natural hazards mitigation into teaching curricula throughout the region. Modules to be developed will leverage existing resources by building on materials already developed by the CDMP and others and providing support to existing teaching curricula. This proposal has been circulated to the UWI Geology (Mona) and Engineering (St. Augustine) departments, the University of the Virgin Islands, the Consortium of Caribbean Universities for Natural Resources and the Construction Resource and Development Centre in Jamaica.

With the pending completion of new building codes within the region, there is a need for adequate training for building inspectors to enforce the new codes. CDMP has made preliminary contacts with consultants who would be candidates to develop a training course for building inspectors.

A workshop on the application of minimum standards for hazard-resistant housing construction was developed and conducted in St. Lucia. Materials from this training will be available to other countries undertaking safer housing activities and for incorporation into other CDMP-developed training modules.

7. Insurance Risk Management

Since the start-up three years ago, the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP) has organized joint workshops on with the insurance industry in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Belize in order to encourage the industry to promote disaster mitigation. This work culminated in the support given to the CARICOM Working Party on Insurance and Reinsurance in the preparation of a policy paper for the CARICOM Heads of Government. A groundbreaking step was taken in May, when the United Insurance Company of Barbados launched a program aimed at reducing hurricane damage to properties. The program provides incentives, in the form of substantial premium reductions, to policyholders to apply measures that would safeguard their properties against the perils of hurricanes. The CDMP was invited by United Insurance to be an official part of the public launching of the program.

During this quarter, the CDMP also participated in the 17th annual conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean. At this conference, considerable attention was paid to natural hazard mitigation and loss reduction. In his opening address, the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, focused on the findings and recommendations of the CARICOM Working Party report, particularly the need for better information on the Caribbean insurance market and a call for a greater retention of insurance risk within the Caribbean region. In the session entitled "The Caribbean—a Disaster Area" presenters reviewed the natural hazards that threaten the Caribbean region and vigorously promoted loss reduction through appropriate building standards for siting and design. CDMP distributed copies of its publications Insurance, Reinsurance and Catastrophe Protection in the Caribbean Basin and Estimation of Building Damage as a Result of Hurricanes in the Caribbean to conference participants. The international reinsurance market was well represented at this meeting, demonstrating a renewed interest in the Caribbean insurance market. Attention paid at this conference to natural hazards and mitigation should continue to move insurers and reinsurers in the Caribbean towards active promotion of loss reduction within the region.

7.1 Follow-up to CARICOM Working Party Report

The World Bank is organizing a meeting to discuss the proposal for a reinsurance pool for the Caribbean. This meeting will be held in Kingston Jamaica in early July.

8. Dominica Geographic Information System/Environmental Planning Project

The change in leadership within the agency overseeing this project in Dominica continued to cause delays in this project. Consensus was reached, however, on the continuation of the project, with the addition of an outreach program and a sub-project to further support land use planning activities in Dominica. Plans are underway for the first round of user group workshops to be held in the next quarter. These will include workshops on road alignments and their impact on landslip hazards, the use of GIS in planning distribution infrastructure and land production modeling.