Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project
Quarterly Program Performance Report
January-March 1999

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

May 1999



Country Activity
Antigua and Barbuda 5.2 Caribbean Hotel Association Manual
5.3 School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
7. Insurance Risk Management
Barbados 3.4.1 Regional Storm Assessment
3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training
6.2 Building Code Administration
7. Insurance Risk Management
Belize 3.2 Belize River Flood Hazard Assessment
6.2 Building Code Administration
Dominica 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
9. Post-disaster Mission
Grenada 3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training
6.2 Building Code Administration
Haiti 4. Community Disaster Preparedness
Jamaica Project Information Dissemination
3.1.1 Montego Bay Hazard Mapping
3.1.2 Kingston Multi-Hazard 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
6. Building Standards and Practices
St. Lucia 4. Community Disaster Preparedness
3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training
6. Building Standards and Practices
6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program
6.2 Building Code Administration
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6. Building Standards and Practices
Trinidad 3.5 Regional Seismic Hazard Information


Project Management and Administration Functions

Project Information Dissemination

The CDMP web site,, was updated during this quarter with final documents from three significant CDMP activities. The School/Shelter Vulnerability Assessment materials, originally made available on the web site in the fall of 1998, were updated during this quarter. A selection of these materials will be distributed to all Ministries of Education throughout CARICOM early in the next quarter. Final documents from the Kingston Jamaica landslide hazard assessment, including copies of the final landslide hazard maps, were added to the web site subsequent to the January 1999 landslide hazard workshop. Also during this quarter, the final report from the CDMP Failed Infrastructure Study was made available on the CDMP web site.

The CDMP web site received over 3,000 hits between mid-January and mid-March. The most popular pages included documents and progress bulletins related to economic impacts of hazards and storm hazard modeling. The pages on CDMP activities in the Dominican Republic and the school/shelter vulnerability reduction activities were also frequently visited.

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


3.1 Jamaica

During this quarter, CDMP and the Jamaica Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) began planning for the final workshop for all CDMP hazard mapping activities in Jamaica. The week of 21 June 1999 will be designated 'Mitigation Week' and will include day-long workshops on each of the components of the Kingston Multi-hazard assessment, followed by a full-day policy workshop focused on hazard mitigation in Jamaica.

3.1.1 Montego Bay Hazard Mapping

During this quarter, the Jamaica Institute of Engineers (JIE) began work on the final report for the Montego Bay hazard assessment. In addition to preparing the final report, based on a CDMP draft, the JIE will: prepare a map of Montego Bay, overlaying the TAOS model results over orthorectified aerial photography; develop a policy framework for the use of storm hazard information in conjunction with the appropriate governmental agencies in Jamaica; and develop guidelines for the use of storm hazard information for engineering and economic and physical planning in Jamaica. The resulting database and maps will be presented and discussed during the Jamaica Mitigation Week activities in late June 1999.

3.1.2 Kingston Multi-Hazard Assessment

Landslide hazard assessment. During the week of 25 January 1999, the Unit for Disaster Studies of the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, held a three-day workshop on landslide hazard mitigation and loss reduction in Kingston, Jamaica. The purpose of this workshop was to demonstrate the magnitude of landslides and related problems in the Kingston area, their direct and indirect effects on society, the constraints they place on current and future land use and the benefits of landslide hazard mitigation. Representatives of a broad range of government agencies and several private and non-governmental organizations participated in the workshop. This workshop was the culmination of the landslide component of the Kingston metropolitan area multi-hazard assessment; all materials produced for the landslide hazard assessment are available through the progress bulletin for this activity.

The landslide hazard mitigation workshop was divided into three sections: an introduction to landslides in the Kingston area, a field trip to landslide sites and a discussion of mitigation of landslide hazards through development planning. During the first section, historical landslide information and landslide susceptibility maps that were developed under the CDMP Kingston multi-hazard assessment project were presented and discussed. These maps provide a basis for understanding the variability of landslide risk across the Kingston metropolitan area. Presentations on the potential for use of landslide information in development planning were made by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority and the Town Planning Department, as well as by U.S.-based landslide experts. In the presentation by the Town Planning Department, a request was made for assistance in incorporating landslide information into the development orders for Kingston and St Andrew, which will be updated this year for the first time since 1966.

Seismic susceptibility. During this quarter, a draft of the final KMA seismic hazard assessment was completed and distributed for review. The final results of this assessment will be presented and discussed during the Jamaica Mitigation Week activities.

Coastal storm surge and wind hazard susceptibility. During this quarter, final results of the KMA and regional storm hazard modeling were generated in a format which can be used for producing the final storm hazard maps. A draft of the final report on this modeling activity has been distributed for review. As with the other sections of the Kingston multi-hazard assessment, the results of the coastal hazard assessment will be presented and discussed at the Jamaica Mitigation Week activities.

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

3.2 Belize River Flood Hazard Assessment

Completion of the river flood model suffered a set-back this quarter, due to family health problems of the principal consultant Chuck Watson. All efforts are being made to complete the necessary model runs during the second quarter of 1999.

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

3.3 Dominica Sea Defense Study

CDMP has completed its contribution to this 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

Systematic Production of MEOWs at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH). During this quarter, the CIMH (formerly the Caribbean Meteorological Institute) developed plans for use of the TAOS model during storm events and for development of MEOW maps for islands in the Eastern Caribbean. This work will begin in the next quarter after an updated version of the TAOS/L model has been installed at CIMH.

3.4.2 Preparedness and Mitigation Training

During the week of 1 March 1999, the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project hosted a four-day regional workshop on Natural Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment. Over 30 physical planners and disaster coordinators from throughout the Caribbean met to review the development of hazard maps for the major natural hazards that affect the Caribbean, the use of these maps to develop assessments of vulnerability of life and property to these hazards and the incorporation of this hazard information into development planning and control and emergency management. This workshop is a follow-up to the Hazard Mitigation Planning Workshop, which was held in St. Lucia in July 1997. During the final day of the workshop, presentations on national hazard mitigation planning activities were made by representatives from the Barbados, British Virgin Islands and Jamaica.

The objectives of the Natural Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment workshop were to 1) demonstrate the importance of incorporating hazard maps into planning decisions; 2) provide sufficient information on individual hazards to understand and use maps of those hazards; and 3) guide the use of this hazard information in planning and decisionmaking through vulnerability assessment and multi-hazard analysis. In bringing together disaster managers and physical planners from throughout the region, additional benefits were realized through furthering dialogue both between these professions and within the region on hazard mapping and vulnerability assessment.

Further information is available on the progress bulletin describing the workshop.

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

3.5 Regional Seismic Hazard Information

The Seismic Research Unit of UWI-St. Augustine presented the final maps produced by this project at the CDMP Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment Workshop (see section 3.4.2 above). These maps show ground acceleration and velocity and seismic intensity for sub-regions of the Caribbean. A guidebook on the use of these maps for engineering design is forthcoming.

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

4. Community Disaster Preparedness

In January 1999, CDMP project managers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic participated in a regional workshop on Community Disaster Preparedness, held in St. Lucia and organized by CDERA. Lessons learned from the CDMP activities were presented by the CDMP representatives. A final report on this workshop is forthcoming from CDERA.

4.1 Dominican Republic

Coordination and Communication

The CDMD manager participated in a conference on Seismic Risk of the Dominican Republic, held in Puerto Plata, D.R., January 18-23. She also represented the CDMP at the PAHO conference on "Preparedness and Response to Hurricanes Georges and Mitch" held in Santo Domingo, February 16-19, where a Community Round Table was held with the support of DIPECHO. Representatives from key NGOs participated and established a work agenda in preparation for the 1999 hurricane season. This agenda includes meetings to: a) register/document communities, their characteristics and contact information; b) seek the establishment of an accreditation system by the authorities for NGOs are able to collaborate with the government in case of an emergency; c) build upon a communications network to assure emergency-related information is received by the communities and to permit communities to communicate; and d) obtain a formal declaration from the Government regarding policies and procedures for requesting, obtaining, receiving and distributing humanitarian aid in case of an emergency.

Community Education

Continuing its campaign with the Red Cross, the CDMD co-financed 15 Community Disaster Preparedness Workshops across the country. CDMD also held talks with Plan International, a Canadian NGO, regarding possible support for assisting 125 communities in improving their ability to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.


The CDMD continued its regular information dissemination campaign through established television programs, radio programs, and special articles in the national newspapers. The CDMD manager and staff also gave several presentations to school groups, businesses, communities and other organizations across the country regarding the D.R.´s natural hazards and recommendations for reducing damage and loss, reaching more than 1000 persons.

Community Initiatives

The CDMD began the repair and reconstruction of two community initiative projects that were affected by Hurricane Georges: a containment dike of the Cabón River in Mata Mamón and a drainage ditch in La Virgen, La Victoria, S.D. During this period a flood prevention project in El Toro, Guerra was inaugurated. Cooperation with Plan International and DIPECHO for the implementation of similar projects is being planned.

Activities related to Hurricane Georges

Following Hurricane Georges, the Dominican Republic negotiated substantial loans for reconstruction with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The implementation of these loan agreements is calling for the establishment, by Government, of a Project Coordination Committee by the Technical Planning Secretariat of the Presidency (STP). In consultation with the OFDA/Washington Office, and the USAID Mission in the Dominican Republic, the CDMP responded to a request for assistance from the STP to help it define an institutional and operational framework for effective disaster management in the country.

The assistance, which is running from January to June 1999, has two objectives: (a) improving the readiness and response capacity for the 1999 hurricane season; and (b) defining a medium term program of institutional strengthening and capacity building for improved response, preparedness and prevention. Two internationally recognized experts in disaster management, one from Colombia, and one from Costa Rica, are under contract with CDMP for the implementation of this project.

A 3-day workshop was held, March 17 to 19, with more than 30 participants from 25 key government agencies and private sector institutions. The purpose of this workshop was to review critical disaster management issues in the country, and to reach an agreement on clear definitions of agency roles and responsibilities in all aspects of disaster management. Following the workshop, an exercise process was started with the objective of preparing the institutions for the next hurricane season. The exercise addresses the information flow, decision-making protocols, and coordination for responding to a hurricane threat and its impact.

See the Activities in the Dominican Republic section of the project web site for more information on this activity.

4.2 Haiti

The CDMP national coordinator visited the CDMD in the Dominican Republic to study the operations of the ongoing Community Initiatives program. He had several working sessions with the CDMD staff, and made field visits to observe four of the projects and talk with community leaders involved in their implementation. Following this visit, the guidelines for starting up and selecting community initiatives in Haiti were finalized.

The CDMP national coordinator also participated, at the invitation of CDERA, in a symposium on Human Habitat, Poverty and Disaster Reduction organized by CDERA and CARIPEDA in St. Lucia, January 24-27. In Haiti, the coordinator held several meetings with the government agency responsible for disaster management and several NGOs to further inter-agency coordination.

In February, the CDMP initiated the vulnerability study of Jeremie in the extreme southwest of Haiti. The study was conducted by a geologists/planner and a social anthropologist with the objective to identify natural hazards that may impact on the area, and to analyze how they can affect population, infrastructure and economic activity. The local disaster management committee, which was established earlier by the CDMP, provided logistical support and volunteers to assist the consultants with their field work. The local disaster committee consists of representatives of locally operating NGOs, schools, the church and other civic organizations. Supervision for the vulnerability study was provided by the CDMP coordinator in Haiti.

Existing geophysical and climatological data, complemented by extensive field work, were used to produce an up to date multi-hazard map of the area. Three hundred households were interviewed on their experience with past disasters, understanding of hazards and perception of risk, social network and economic activity. They form a representative sample of the population located in the different hazard prone areas of the city. Based on the hazard maps, on information on location of lifeline infrastructure and the household survey, the vulnerability of population, infrastructure and economic activity was established. The study also identified approximately fifty interventions at the project concept level. These range from enhancing local surface drainage to establishing a fuel-wood production lot and installing a community operated flood warning system. Several of these are suitable for implementation by community labor and small financial assistance.

Upon completing the field work in Jeremie, the CDMP team organized a presentation of the results for members of the community and representatives of government agencies and NGOs operating in the region. More than eighty persons participated in the presentation, including the mayor of Jeremie and the political representative of the Grand Anse district. Several donor agencies have expressed interest in the results of the study, and indicated they may consider funding some of the project profiles. The CDMP is now assisting the local disaster committee in establishing itself as a legal NGO to enable it to become a local executing agency for implementing the recommendations of the Jeremie vulnerability study.

The report on the vulnerability assessment of Jeremie will be completed by the end of April. It will be translated in French by the end of May and will be distributed widely in Jeremie and at the national level to government agencies, NGOs and international development assistance agencies. The CDMP plans to assist the local disaster committee in establishing itself as a legal NGO to enable it to become a local executing agency for implementing the recommendations of the Jeremie vulnerability study.

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

Arrangements were made during this quarter for printing of the Spanish version of the CHA/CTO Hurricane Procedures Manual, which will be available for use during the coming hurricane season. Plans were also made for a second workshop based on the manual, to be held in Antigua in May.

5.3 School/shelter Vulnerability Reduction in OECS

During this quarter, all materials for the school/shelter vulnerability reduction activities were finalized and posted on the CDMP web site. These materials are available through the School/Shelter Vulnerability Reduction Resources Page. CDMP also sponsored representatives from Dominica and Antigua who had participated in this activity to present, at the Caribbean session of the US National Hurricane Conference, their perspectives on the use of schools as shelters. Selected materials developed under this activity will be distributed to ministries of education in each of the CARICOM member states.

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

6. Building Standards and Practices

In February, CDMP initiated a contract with the University of Technology (UTECH) in Jamaica to develop course materials and a course outline for instruction in disaster mitigation and safer construction. As part of this work, UTECH will prepare an implementation plan for offering this instruction as a stand-alone course and as modules to be integrated into its existing curriculum.

Probable Maximum Loss Study

During this quarter, collection and analysis of infrastructure information for St. Lucia and Dominica was completed. In St. Kitts, preliminary information was collected, reformatted by the principal consultant on the PML study and returned to St. Kitts for verification. After attempts, through two different mechanisms, to collect the necessary infrastructure information in St. Vincent and the Grenadines failed, St. Vincent was dropped from the study.

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

6.1 Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program


During this quarter, the National Development Foundation of Antigua and Barbuda began concentrated work, with the support of CDMP, to implement recommendations from the 1998 safer housing roundtable and to assist with the incorporation of safer building techniques into construction and home improvement. Specifically, NDF will: a) Convene a follow-up series of roundtable discussions to expand and develop public and private implementation plans for the recommendations made in the December 1998 Safer Housing Roundtable; b) Develop and conduct training programs in safer home construction and retrofitting and c) Place two persons in the field full time for four months to provide on-site advice in safe building techniques to carpenters and builders who may be carrying out repairs, retrofitting or building small houses for low-income persons.


Due to a new home improvement loan facility offered by the Foundation, there were no new applications for processing under the Hurricane-resistant Home Improvement Program. The total retrofit portfolio constitutes 22 loans, with an arrears rate of less than 5%. Two loans were closed during the quarter.

The retrofit component of the program is promoted in the Foundation's new home improvement package. Newspapers remain the predominant media for generating further publicity, although NDFD staff has used community-organized forums to inform the public of its services.

St. Lucia

Despite a serious reduction in staff, CARITAS continues to collect payments from its clients' loans. Due to funding limitations, CARITAS was only able to field personnel once a month to encourage clients to repay their loans. This reduction in field visits has adversely affected the project's repayment rate. CARITAS will work to add another field visit each month and has agreed to continue the hiatus on new loan activity.

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

6.2 Building Code Administration

The Caribbean Development Bank has announced that it is interested in funding work to bring up to date the Caribbean Uniform Building Code (CUBiC). To assist in this effort, CDMP is supporting a group of engineers, who had been involved in the drafting of the original document, in developing a proposal and workplan for the CUBiC upgrade (CUBiC-2000).

During this quarter, CDMP continued work on assisting Grenada with the development of a national building code. The OECS model building code has been distributed for review and comment to all ministries, agencies and organizations associated with building and construction in Grenada. CDMP also began discussions with Belize to provide assistance with the development of a national building code. To assist with these projects, CDMP has investigated the development of new engineering drawings for inclusion in the newly developed building guideline manuals, and for distribution, in CAD format, along with those documents. Work on the St. Lucia building code and guidelines has been completed; CDMP has agreed to coordinate and cover the costs of printing these final documents. Finally, CDMP has agreed to assist Barbados with the establishment of a formal Building Authority and to help finalize the necessary legislation and administrative structure for this authority.

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

7. Insurance Risk Management

During this quarter, CDMP offered to assist United Insurance with reviewing its hurricane-resistant building insurance program, to suggest improvements to the program to generate greater interest and to more successfully expand the program to other islands. This assistance will begin early in the next quarter.

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

8. Dominica Geographic Information System/Environmental Planning Project

The final GIS-EP activities—workshops on the use of GIS for planning appropriate road alignments and for agricultural planning—were completed during this quarter. Both workshops were highly successful. The workshop on road alignment made extensive use of the information that was collected in response to the landslide dam in the Layou River (see below) for the modeling that was conducted during this workshop. Five participants in the GIS in agriculture workshop have formed a cross-institutional group to assist with the collection of information for and application of computer modeling to banana production modeling. The GIS-EP will cover the cost of obtaining a draft banana model, developed at the University of Florida.

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

9. Post-disaster Mission

Hurricane Georges

See section 4.1 for information on post-Georges activities in the Dominican Republic.

Layou River Landslide Dam (Dominica)

The landslide dam in the Layou river valley again remained stable during the quarter. The CDMP consultant working on this project made a final report to the Government of Dominica in January. The final report for the Layou River landslide dam response will be available in the next quarter.