Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project
Implemented by the Organization of American States
Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
for the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Caribbean Regional Program

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The Dominican Disaster Mitigation Association
Activities and Impact: 1994-1999

Presented by: Christine M. Herridge de Guerrero, Coordinator
November 1999

The Dominican Disaster Mitigation Association (DDMA) is located on the 2nd floor of the Organization of American States Building in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and the telephone numbers are: (809) 508-2596 and 533-8024; fax (809) 535-4680. For more information, please write to us at e-mail: m.desastre@codetel.net.do <mailto:m.desastre@codetel.net.do or visit our Home Page: <http://www.oas.org/en/cdmp/rdom/Homepag.htm> which has been facilitated by the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (USAID/OFDA/OAS).

The DDMA continues its vulnerability reduction efforts with funding from the Disaster Mitigation Program of the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Community (DIPECHO); from the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) called Plan International; and from a recently established endowment fund made possible by a grant from the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP).

To wrap up the year and the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP) which was financed by OFDA/USAID and implemented by the Organization of American States, which created the DDMA to integrate the NGO and private sectors in vulnerability reduction activities in the Dominican Republic, we enclose this edition of the Bulletin, No. 17, as of November 30, to review the main activities and accomplishments of the last five years of the CDMP in the D.R. The DDMA is an NGO incorporated under Law 520 by Executive Decree No. 27-96 and its Board of Directors, elected each February, is currently comprised by five NGO’s: Food For the Hungry International, World Vision International, the Dominican Society of Seismology and Seismic Engineering (SODOSISMICA), the Dominican Association of Free Zones (ADOZONA) and Participación Ciudadana; as well as by four companies: Sea-Land Service, Compañía Nacional de Seguros, CODETEL, and Tabacalera de García.

Various prestigious institutions participate as advisors to the DDMA such as UNICEF, ASONAHORES, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ADRA, the Dominican Red Cross, the Dominican Civil Defense and the Dominican Armed Forces. All of these institutions are committed to creating a disaster resistant culture within high risk communities, organizations and businesses which are exposed to the recurring hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, landslides and other phenomenon which affect the D.R. with a particularly damaging regularity. The DDMA has developed an effective program focused on the stage prior to disasters, which includes the following five strategic elements:

I Coordination and Communication

The DDMA serves as a catalyst among communities, businesses, non governmental organizations, professional associations and other institutions to create and enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities internally as well as inter-institutionally. The DDMA has participated in over 357 coordination and work meetings with dozens of organizations, agencies and businesses. Regular meetings are held by the DDMA for members of the NGO as well as Education sectors, and a network of NGO’s and community groups has been structured to deal with hurricane season.

II Information

The DDMA provides concise and trustworthy information regarding the country’s natural hazards and the best measures available to prevent damage and loss by means of bulletins, presentations, interviews for the media, simulations, videos, radio spots and informative brochures. The DDMA has given 458 presentations to 29,885 people nation wide regarding the D.R.’s natural hazards and disaster mitigation, of which 213 were given to 19,336 students, teachers, and parents as part of our school campaign which was supported by the Compañía Nacional de Seguros. The DDMA also receives generous support from the media to make disaster preparedness part of Dominican culture. Various stations and editors have contributed more than 2,278 minutes of tv time, 5,064 minutes of radio time and 41 articles, worth at least RD$23,117975 (US$1,463,163)!

III Community Education

The DDMA intervenes directly in high risk communities through the "Community Disaster Preparedness Workshop" which was designed by the Red Cross and is titled "Es Mejor Prevenir..." (It’s Better to Prevent...). The DDMA has held 20 workshops to train 619 institutional representatives of more than 50 institutions, NGO’s and community groups as facilitators of this workshop, who in turn, have given the workshop in 736 communities nation-wide, providing orientation to at least 22,080 community leaders and representatives. These workshops define what a disaster is, how to identify vulnerability; how to identify local resources (human, material and otherwise) which can be applied to solutions; and to prepare a Community Emergency Plan. The remarkable effectiveness of this program is evident in participating communities, which were able, thanks to this intervention, to establish Community Emergency Committees, and in response to Hurricane Georges, were able to evacuate people from flood prone areas. They also were able to negotiate the use of private buildings as shelters, later returning the people to their homes; as well as organize clean-up brigades, request and distribute assistance without incident. In addition, the communities have identified small projects and actions that they have carried out on their own which include speed bumps, community streets, and even containment walls and drainage ditch embankments.

IV Community Initiatives

The DDMA has co-financed 17 small infrastructure projects such as containment walls, drainage ditch embankments, drainage wells, among others to reduce each community’s vulnerability. A total of 56,441 people from 10,262 families nation-wide have benefitted from the projects built by the communities with DDMA assistance. The Community Emergency Committee submits its proposal for the project to the DDMA and the community is responsible for contributing all the manual labor, technical assistance and official permits required by the government for the project.

Our experience shows that the communities, with the support of other NGO’s and the local authorities, have been able to contribute 68% (US$192,196) of the total value of the projects and the DDMA has facilitated 32% (US$89,070) for the purchase and transportation of construction materials. These projects immediately solve health and environmental contamination problems as well as reduce and mitigate the constant floods and landslides which are a daily concern for these communities, while at the same time teaching the community a results and development oriented methodology as well as restoring the community’s confidence in its own capacity to identify and implement solutions to common problems.

V Training

The DDMA offers various courses for technicians and professionals from the private and NGO sectors. A total of 22 courses have been given for 502 representatives of companies and organizations. The topics range from courses prepared by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) on Disaster Administration and Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis, as well those prepared by our affiliated experts such as Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Brigades. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (809) 508-2596, to coordinate the necessary training to assist your organization’s preparations to prevent, mitigate and respond to disasters and contingencies.

Please review the enclosed course offerings for the year 2000 and reserve your place well in advance:

Contingency Plans for Catastrophic Events; Disaster Administration; Resource Management (Material, Human, and Financial) during Hurricane Season; Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis; Emergency Preparedness: Contingency Principles and Proceedures in the Event of a Hurricane; Seismic Risk in the Dominican Republic: Institutional Preparations and Procedures; Hazardous Materials and Toxic Substance Management; Catastrophic Risk Coverage: Costs, Limitations, Deductibles and Depreciation as Manageable Elements.

CDMP home page: http://www.oas.org/en/cdmp/ Project Contacts

Page Last Updated: 20 April 2001