Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project
Quarterly Program Performance Report
April-June 1998

Prepared For:
Cooperative Agreement No. 940-1008-A-00-3522-00

Issued By:
Organization of American States
Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment

1889 F Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20011

July 1998



Country Activity
Antigua and Barbuda 3.4.1 Regional Storm Assessment
5.3 School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
7. Insurance Risk Management
The Bahamas 5.2 Caribbean Hotel Association Manual
Barbados 3.4.1 Regional Storm Assessment
7. Insurance Risk Management
Belize 3.2 Belize River Flood Hazard Assessment
Dominica 3.3 Dominica Sea Defences Study
5.3 School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS
6. Building Standards and Practices
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
8. Geographic Information System/Environmental Planning Project
9. Post-disaster Mission
Dominican Republic 4. Community Disaster Preparedness
Grenada 5.3 School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
6.2 Building Code Administration
Haiti 4. Community Disaster Preparedness
Jamaica 3.1.2 Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment
3.4.1 Regional Storm Assessment
3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training
6. Building Standards and Practices
St. Kitts and Nevis 5.3 School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS
St. Lucia 3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training
6. Building Standards and Practices
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
7. Insurance Risk Management
Trinidad 3.5 Regional Seismic Hazard Information
US Virgin Islands 6. Building Standards and Practices


Project Management and Administration Functions

Project Information Dissemination

The CDMP web site,, was updated during this quarter with a new thematic section entitled "Investing in Mitigation: Costs and Benefits" and descriptions of CDMP activities in the Dominican Republic. Project bulletins for the School/Shelter Vulnerability Audits and the Building Code Strengthening Activities were updated during this quarter. Use of the project web site for project management continued in the school/shelter activity and the Kingston Multi-hazard Assessment. Extensive use was made of the web site to disseminate documents for the 1998 Technical Advisory Committee Meeting. Web use statistics were only available for a portion of the quarter, and showed over 750 ‘requests’ for the months of May and June. A ‘request’ is web connection that successfully retrieves content from the web site.

Exchange of information between the CDMP and the Asian Urban Disaster Mitigation Program (AUDMP) is growing. During this quarter, the Hazard Mitigation Planning Manual was downloaded by AUDMP, copied and distributed to partner agencies in Sri Lanka and India. Information on the School/Shelter Vulnerability Audits was forwarded to OFDA for assistance with the school earthquake vulnerability reduction program in Nepal.

1998 Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

The CDMP Technical Advisory Committee met in Kingston, Jamaica, 30 April–1 May 1998. TAC members present included representatives of USAID/OFDA Washington, USAID/OFDA Kingston, USAID/Dominican Republic, CARICOM, CDB, CDERA, Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Jamaica), CDMP/Haiti, CDMP/Dominican Republic and CDMP management (OAS/Washington, Cooperative Housing Foundation and project monitoring and evaluation).

Topics covered during the meeting included project activities since the previous TAC meeting (February 1997), the workplan and budget for 1998 and the long-term plan for project sustainability. Based on the discussion at this meeting, the project workplan and budget were revised and distributed to the TAC members for comment. A list server has been established to facilitate communication among the TAC members on project related issues. The next CDMP TAC meeting has been tentatively scheduled for mid-November 1998.

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


3.1 Jamaica

3.1.2 Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment

CDMP presented a paper at the Caribbean session of the National Hurricane Conference on the subject of "Multi-hazard Mapping, from Concept to Practice." The Kingston multi-hazard assessment was used as a case study for this talk.

Landslide susceptibility. KMA landslide susceptibility maps were introduced to the staff of the Town Planning Department, Jamaica in a special 2-hour lecture on 14th May 1998 at the Unit for Disaster Studies, UWI, Mona. Fourteen persons attended the lecture, including the Government Town Planner and Deputy Town Planners. The response to the maps was very encouraging and the agency requested copies of the maps for their internal use. CDMP supported the reproduction of selected maps from the landslide hazard map atlas to facilitate their discussion and use.

KMA landslide maps and supporting data were presented at the 15th Caribbean Geological Conference, 28 June–2 July 1998, Kingston, Jamaica in the form of a poster presentation.

Seismic susceptibility. Work on the second and final phase of the KMA seismic susceptibility assessment continued during this quarter. During the week of 8 June, CDMP and the US National Geodetic Survey collaborated on a gravity survey of the Kingston Metropolitan Area. The purpose of this survey was to develop a map of the depth to bedrock under Kingston, for use in the seismic hazard model. In this survey, measurements of location (using Global Positioning System) and gravity (using gravimeters) were taken at a total of 50 locations along two 10-km transects (one east-west and the other north-south). A trip report for the gravity survey is available on the CDMP web site. The gravity survey was carried out with significant assistance and involvement from the Office of the Prime Minister, UWI-Mona and the Jamaican Institute of Surveyors.

Coastal storm surge and wind hazard susceptibility. During this quarter, the topographic and bathymetric database to be used in the Kingston coastal storm surge and wind hazard assessment was completed, using TAOS base data combined with higher resolution information from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority’s GIS database. Maps showing storm surge heights and maximum wind speeds for various return periods will be completed in the coming quarter.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

3.2 Belize River Flood Hazard Assessment

In April, CDMP undertook a field visit to Belize to collect information for use in verifying the data used in the flood hazard model and in validating the model results. Based on the field trip, the satellite image of Belize was reclassed into 8 hydrological categories and stream data were analyzed to develop distribution of annual maxima. Model development will near completion in the next quarter, with presentation of the results and training scheduled for early in the final quarter of 1998.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

3.3 Dominica Sea Defense Study

CDMP re-submitted copies of its review of the technical design report and its design criteria for the rehabilitation of the Dominica Sea Defences to the Government of Dominica. Upon completion of the project designs by the consultant to the Government, CDMP will participate in a pre-bid meeting for actual construction of the project.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

3.4 Regional Hurricane Preparedness and Mitigation

3.4.1 Regional Storm Assessment

Development of MEOWs at the Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI). During this quarter, CMI, CDMP and CDERA met to discuss plans for the Antigua storm hazard mapping pilot project. For this pilot project, the automated MEOW module was run for both fast and slow moving storms, from various expected approach directions, within each Saffir-Simpson hurricane class. The final atlas will most likely contain a map for each forward speed/direction class combination. It was decided that draft versions of the maps will be presented at a national workshop in the fall, to solicit comments and suggestions from agencies and organizations that will be using the maps. To assist with the preparation for and facilitation of this national workshop, CDMP will support the participation of a regional consultant to work with CMI, CDERA and the national disaster coordinator and the national meteorological service in Antigua.

TAOS/L Model Development. New sources of bathymetric and topographic data have been identified and are being used to upgrade the existing 30-arcsecond database that is distributed with TAOS/L. An updated version of TAOS/L, which will include the new database is scheduled to be released during the coming quarter. Separate from the CDMP, the methodology developed for the Montego Bay Hazard Assessment has been applied and verified during the first half of 1998 in a large-scale application of TAOS to the State of Florida. Lessons from this Florida study will be incorporated into the coastal hazard assessment for Kingston (see 3.1.2).

3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training

During this quarter, plans for hazard mitigation planning pilot projects in St. Lucia and Jamaica were finalized. In St. Lucia, CDMP will support a national consultation on the national mitigation plan, which is currently under development. In Jamaica, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management is just beginning work on a national mitigation policy. CDMP will support this activity through a local contract to research the existing national regulatory framework for mitigation and through an outside consultant, who will assist ODPEM with structuring and reviewing the national mitigation policy. Also during this quarter, CDMP discussed with CDERA a mitigation planning ‘lessons learned’ workshop to be held in late 1998.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

3.5 Regional Seismic Hazard Information

Work on country-level seismic iso-acceleration maps for the Caribbean, by the Seismic Research Unit (SRU) of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, was delayed during this quarter by the strike at the University. Calculation of hazard values for the project area has been completed at a grid resolution of 0.1 degrees. Plans for map preparation are complete, including the redigitizing of some base maps for use in final map production. Draft maps will be available early in the next quarter, with final maps to be complete by the end of September.

4. Community Disaster Preparedness

4.1 Dominican Republic

During this quarter, a section on CDMP activities in the Dominican Republic was added to the CDMP web site.

Training: The ADMD initiated a course entitled Resource Management (Human, Financial and Material) during the Hurricane Season. This course was successfully presented to 27 representatives of private companies and NGOs.

Coordination and Communication: During this quarter, the ADMD used 129 minutes of donated television time to describe project activities and natural hazards in the DR and to recommend preparatory and mitigative activities. Three newspaper articles featured ADMD’s activities. ADMD gave 27 formal presentations on the DR’s natural hazards and recommended mitigation measures to a total of 1,752 people from businesses, schools and communities nationwide.

Under the C&C Mechanism for Schools, 1,148 students and teachers participated in 12 presentations and four facilitator training workshops were held for 91 teachers. Two national meetings of the mechanism were held during this quarter; the first focused on risk maps and emergency plans and the second on the collection of impact data from the various NGOs working in high-risk communities.

Community Education: The ADMD continued the Community Disaster Preparedness Campaign, by co-financing 48 workshops.

Information: The 11th informative bulletin reviewing project activities was sent by fax to approximately 2,000 businesses and organizations. Information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes and earthquakes is distributed during community workshops and presentations. The Compañía Nacional de Seguros prepared a 30 second TV announcement to raise awareness of potential hurricane impacts; the campaign will begin in July.

Community Initiatives: All completed community initiatives report continued success, despite recent heavy rains. Nine new community initiatives are in progress and an additional three proposals were approved and initiated during this quarter.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

4.2 Haiti

During the last week of May, the first OFDA Training for Instructors course was held in Les Cayes, with great success. Since this was the first such workshop in Haiti and the first conducted by the Haitian trainers, extensive planning and preparation went into the organization of the workshop. Twenty-two people participated in the workshop, representing NGOs, public agencies and international organizations. Throughout the workshop, participants clearly demonstrated newly acquired skills, approaches and knowledge. Efforts will be made during the upcoming year to involve the workshop graduates in project training activities. In conjunction with OFDA/Costa Rica, CDMP Haiti is currently planning implementation of the first Introduction to Disaster Management course.

During this quarter, CDMP Haiti met with a representative of DIPECHO to discuss the project funding request that was submitted in the previous quarter. The focus of the proposed project is to reinforce local disaster committees and to strengthen existing activities related to renewable energy, water management, reforestation and soil conservation. An amended project proposal, which incorporated requested changes, was resubmitted to DIPECHO. To facilitate the preparation of future proposals, the coordinator of CDMP Haiti attended a project development workshop organized by the IDB.

A hazard vulnerability study for Jeremie will begin early in the next quarter. Preparations for the initial site visit of the consultant for this study were made during this quarter, including meetings with local officials, site visits and discussions with the local disaster committee. The Jeremie committee is anxiously awaiting the commencement of this activity.

A meeting of the Project Steering Committee is planned for the first half of August.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

5. Lifeline Loss Reduction

5.2 Caribbean Hotel Association Manual

During this quarter, CDMP completed the development of a structural mitigation chapter to be added to the Hurricane Procedures Manual under production by the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The Manual (which included the CDMP’s chapter) was announced and distributed at the CHA’s annual conference in June in the Bahamas.

5.3 School/shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS

The five countries participating in the school/shelter vulnerability audit project—Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis—finished the property surveys (90 in total) and submitted them to the CDMP consultant for review and evaluation. The consultant completed follow-up visits in 3 of the 5 countries to gather additional information, continue working with local engineers and spot-check the surveys. Preparations are underway for a regional workshop in St. Kitts in September to present and discuss the survey results. CDMP is continuing discussions with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) about the availability of loan financing to complete the actual retrofitting of the 90 properties surveyed.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Kitts submitted draft National Plans to Reduce the Vulnerability of School Buildings to Natural Hazards. Final revisions are underway and the final documents should be ready for distribution and review at the September workshop. It is anticipated that the National Plans will be presented before the respective cabinets for approval and adoption before the end of 1998.

Proper maintenance is the key to prolonging the life of a structure. Unfortunately, school buildings are often poorly maintained and little money, if any, is typically set aside in recurring budgets for school building maintenance. This contributes to the building’s vulnerability to natural disasters. To combat this problem, the CDMP developed a school building maintenance manual for non-technical personnel (school principals, head masters and teachers). The manual contains a series of checklists and hints on how to prolong the life of school buildings. The manual is ready for duplication and distribution, however, country specific versions are being developed for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Kitts with a release date of September 1998. The general school building maintenance manual is available from the Papers and Publications section of the CDMP web site.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

6. Building Standards and Practices

The CDMP study of four major projects in the region that failed due to the effects of natural hazards was completed during this quarter. The projects reviewed in this study include the Dominica Port, bridges in St. Lucia, University buildings in Jamaica and a hotel in the US Virgin Islands. Full drafts of the final products—a detailed description of the study’s findings, a design manual for engineers on the incorporation of hazard information into project design and a white paper on the costs and benefits of hazard mitigation—are complete. These documents have been circulated for review and comments will be incorporated into the final documents, which are expected to be completed during the next quarter. Findings from this study were used to create a new section of the CDMP web site, entitled "Investing in Mitigation: Costs and Benefits."

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program

Following up on discussions at the 1998 CDMP TAC meeting, the CDMP and CDB began discussions of collaborating on the CDB’s Shelter Development and Mortgage Finance/Building Construction Projects. In such a collaboration, CDMP would provide safer housing training and assistance with managing a low-income revolving loan fund as part of CDB’s lending for low-income housing development. Discussions with CDB on the structure of such a collaboration will continue during the next quarter.

St. Lucia

CARITAS continues to focus on increasing the repayment rate of its clients’ loans. Each month during this quarter, CARITAS personnel conducted at least two field visits to encourage clients to pay their loans. While these efforts have yielded some success, both CHF and CARITAS have agreed to continue the hiatus on new loans. Currently 10 clients (22%) have completed their repayments and 5 (14%) clients are up to date on their current payments.

NRDF St. Lucia continued its series of "in-community" training programs for home upgrading with weekend workshops in Babonneau, Anse La Raye, Canaries and Choiseul. Central to each of these workshops is the application of retrofit techniques to an existing structure in the community. Three additional workshops are scheduled prior to the end of the year.


NDFD has begun its 1998 Promotional Campaign with advertisements in both print and television. The program was also highlighted during a National radio station’s call in period. The Disaster Preparedness office has been echoing the same safer housing message.

Loan activity was down during this quarter. One application was received but did meet the prescribed loan requirements. The total retrofit portfolio constitutes 30 loans with a present value of EC$205,665.50. Seven loans were closed during the quarter under review. The NDFD board is considering a new loan agreement with CHF for EC$100,000.

NDFD is constantly monitoring the retrofit loans to ensure that the arrears situation does not reach an unsatisfactory level. The arrears rate of the portfolio is 1.13%. Most of the arrears are within the 30 days category and it is hoped that a substantial reduction will be realized by the next reporting period. NDFD is prepared for an increase in demand with the beginning of the hurricane season.

Antigua and Barbuda

A modified loan agreement with NDF Antigua & Barbuda is currently being considered by CHF. With approval, CHF will disburse the first loan tranche to NDF Antigua & Barbuda.


Meetings have continued among the Disaster Emergency Coordinator, the Grenada National Development Foundation and the Grenada National Development Bank with all parties in agreement on the need for a Hurricane Resistant Home Improvement Loan Program. A fourth organization—the Grenada Community Development Organization—has also expressed interest in the consortium’s mission. During the quarter CHF continued its discussions with the Caribbean Development Bank. Recently, CDB made appointments to a local planning team in Grenada. CDB indicated that they will add hurricane resistant home improvement lending to the committee’s terms of reference.

Work with Credit Unions

In Jamaica, training has taken place in two rural, parish credit unions to sensitize and discuss with the staff how to help the production of disaster resistant housing. Housing that survives disasters benefits not only the credit union member, but also the credit union, who are more likely to collect their loans. Credit Unions loan money for building and home improvement, without having technical inspection capacity. The task is to see how, by working with the credit unions the process could be changed to produce better housing safety, without substantially increasing the Credit Unions’ administrative costs.

During the training sessions, it was agreed that sensitizing the borrower and the credit union staff to the simple issues involved in hazard resistance was the only way to proceed, as the credit union has no direct access to the builders involved. A brochure has been developed for distribution by the credit union, which illustrates the simple issues and details involved in home hazard mitigation. When used by credit officers in discussions with borrowers, this information will demonstrate the concern of the credit union for the safety of its members. Monitoring of the initiative is in place for four months.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

6.2 Building Code Administration

During this quarter, the CDMP received a formal request from the Government of Grenada to initiate the development of a national building code for the country. CDMP has identified a consultant to undertake a site visit to Grenada to develop a project workplan. This visit will occur early in the next quarter.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

7. Insurance Risk Management

The CDMP participated in the launching of an incentive program whereby property owners receive discounts on their premiums after implementing certain prescribed measures that reduce the vulnerability of the property to wind hazard. The program, which was launched in St. Lucia on July 14, and in Antigua and Barbuda on July 16, is being promoted by United Insurance Company Ltd. of Barbados, a regional insurer with operations throughout the Eastern Caribbean. The incentive program was based on the recommendations made by the CDMP for the CARICOM Working Party on Insurance and Reinsurance in 1995.

As part of this initiative, United Insurance is making available to Caribbean property owners a guide to making homes hurricane resistant and a more technical manual for retrofitting of engineered structures. CDMP agreed to support local training and awareness programs that would familiarize homeowners with practical approaches to retrofitting their homes. Representatives of the building trade associations and the building finance community present at the launch called for the adoption of a national building codes as a mechanism to ensure safer construction and minimize losses from disasters.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

8. Dominica Geographic Information System/Environmental Planning Project

Assessment and response to the landslide dam in the Layou River watershed continued to delay work on the GIS-EP. A radio and TV outreach program covering the applications and benefits of appropriate development planning has continued throughout this quarter. Training of the staff of the Dominica Physical Planning Unit on land capability mapping was completed, using the Portsmouth Area Plan as a case study. The GIS workshops that were postponed because of the Layou landslide dam have been rescheduled for early fall.

See the CDMP progress bulletins on the project web site for more information on this activity.

9. Post-disaster Mission

In January, the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP) sponsored a technical team in Dominica to assist the Government in responding to the risk of flooding in the Layou River valley caused by several landslide dams in an upstream tributary. The team consists of Dr. Cassandra Rogers, a landslide expert from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad, Dr. David Lang, a landslide expert resident in Dominica and other local experts. During Dr. Rogers’ two-week visit, the team assessed proposed emergency vulnerability reduction measures and developed a detailed plan of action for flood vulnerability assessment and mitigation. CDMP support to the Government of Dominica is being coordinated with the Government's Layou River task force.

In June, rains caused water levels behind the landslide dam to rise three feet per week. Once the rains stopped, however, water levels fell again. A series of very minor failures, both on the dam plug and the dam toe, have occurred recently, but these appear to present no danger of dam failure. Water seeps through dam face itself have also increased somewhat.

Sedimentation in the Layou River, caused by the November 1997 landslide, is decreasing, due to scouring by the river and dredging of the riverbed. In the section of the river from the landslide dam to the Layou River hotel, the channel is nearly back to its original state. Between the Layou River hotel and the Hillsboro bridge, approximately half of the landslide sediment has been removed. Dredging is underway between the Layou River hotel and the mouth of the river. A deep channel has been dredged along this section of the river. The reduction in sediment within the riverbed has reduced downstream vulnerability somewhat. Storage of significant quantities of dredged material on the riverbanks pending transport off the island, however, continues to pose a danger until the materials have been removed.

During this quarter the digitization of elevation contours for the Layou River watershed was completed. This information was used to generate a digital elevation model. Locations of vulnerable areas (identified in an initial flood vulnerability study in the winter 1998) were superimposed on the elevation information to produce flood hazard vulnerability maps.

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