Every year, forces of nature behave uncontrollably and disruptively, leaving inestimable impacts. These impacts include the loss of livelihoods and human life, disruption of services as well as leaving millions of individuals homeless.
As per a report by Reuters released in 2017, around 14 million people are being made homeless annually because of unexpected natural disasters like storms and floods. As per the study, South as well as Southeast Asia nations have enormous displacement and housing loss due to these natural disasters. These disasters also have the knack for targeting the weak and helpless communities in the Caribbean and Latin American countries.
The small island of the Caribbean, Dominica, has also faced many natural disasters. Still, the country was left in deep shock after the fierce attack of Hurricane Maria and Tropical Storm Erika.
UNDP and OCHA Services stated that Tropical Storm Erika caused vast destruction and loss equal to about 90% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On the other hand, the Post-Disaster Needs gave a statement while concluding that Hurricane Maria brought about damages of over EC$2.51 billion (US$931 million) and losses of EC$1.03 billion (US$382 million), which counts for 226% of 2016’s GDP.
The people of Dominica were left with significantly less or no means to rebuild and recover their island nation. Therefore, the government of the country came forward and developed a mechanism that was independent of international community support that could push the country into a major debt crisis.
The government created new policies in urban planning and developed integrated housing communities around the nation as there was an extensive need to rebuild, and also an ambition to adapt to climate change ultimately pushed the government to take these measures, thus, the Housing Revolution Programme (Integrated Housing Development) was formed.
The Housing Revolution Programme is funded by the Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica and was developed through a Public-Private partnership. The government’s initiative strives to provide modern, new, integrated housing to low and middle-income class families. It took almost two years for the plan to become fully functional.
The displaced families during Hurricane Maria started resettling in December 2018 at the Bellevue Chopin Housing Development. 350 residential units, a 28-unit commercial complex, a health centre, a community centre as well as a field for recreation were the first ones to be developed as the first integrated community on the island.
During the last three years, twelve other housing developments have been brought in across the East Coast, West Coast as well as the capital city, Roseau. Till date, around 2000 housing units have been completed.
This year, housing developments will also be initiated in Eggleston, Point Michel, Point Michel, Scotts Head, Vieille Case, Canefield, Woodford Hill, Penville, Paix Bouche, and Roseau Valley.
Besides that, a well-developed and well-planned community development will be formed by 2023 in Grand Bay. Other than the magnificently beautiful homes and scenic view of Grand Bay Ville are amenities and services like a basketball court, shops, pocket parks, community centre, recreational spaces, and gas station; safely secured 24/7, with the fire station and police station within the area.
The classic design for the developments is a mix of two and three-bedroom houses and apartments along with a bath and toilet, a dining area, a living area and a kitchen. In addition to this, and as part of efforts to assure resilience, the structure of this basic home was built with reinforced concrete and stormproof windowpanes to protect them in situations of further disasters.
It is also reinforced with retaining walls, stormwater drainages and sewage, and all the utility lines are kept underground.
The units are granted by the government and are not for sale or rent. These are given to beneficiaries based on a selection system based on social and dire needs, particularly for single mothers.
Besides giving climate-resilient homes, the programme also made way for the development and sustenance of livelihoods. Local contractors and other specialised workers have been hired for various housing developments.
With the environment that is changing at a fast pace, disaster recovery is now connected to the concepts of resilience and community renewal, and through the Integrated Housing Development Programme (IHDP) adopted by nations like Dominica, the integration of housing and recovery has been successfully achieved over these years, proving that there is considerable potential to enhance the quality of life and the socio-economic status even in the areas that are regarded as most vulnerable.