Did Dominica Build Back Better?


Photo credit: Dale Elliott Abessie

The night of September 18, 2017, forever altered the development trajectory of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Hurricane Maria’s 160 mph winds decimated the island, stripping vegetation, flattening homes, and crippling infrastructure. The devastation was catastrophic: 31 lives lost, thousands homeless, and damages amounting to USD $1.3 billion dollars – over twice the nation’s GDP. Dominica’s government, under Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, vowed to rebuild as the world’s first climate-resilient nation, creating the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD) to lead this ambitious mission.

This documentary looks at the first few days of having been on the ground after Maria hit and now – seven years later – to find stories of resilience amidst ongoing challenges. Among those who experienced hurricane Maria are individuals such as Andy Carter, once shelter-bound, now runs “The Rescue Ship,” a business born from disaster. Others like Sylvester Joseph from Pointe Michel, still bear the scars of loss and trauma, trapped in a comatose state still living in the mouth of a river.  

The government’s $600 million investment has propelled recovery, yet an estimated USD $1 billon to $1.2 billion dollars financing gap looms.

– National Resilience Development Strategy 2030

The National Resilience Development Strategy 2030 outlines Dominica’s vision: resilient housing, restructured agriculture, and robust telecommunications. Significant strides have been made in infrastructure and policy, but challenges in construction and workforce training remain. The government’s $600 million investment has propelled recovery, yet an estimated USD            $1 billon to $ 1.2 billion dollars financing gap looms.

Dominica’s journey is a testament to human spirit and resilience. As the island revises building codes and embraces innovative technologies, it faces a pivotal opportunity to transform adversity into a sustainable future. Dominica’s path forward is not just about rebuilding but re-envisioning a resilient, innovative nation.

Did Dominica Build Back Better documentary.

This story was supported via a Fellowship from Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC) and Internews with  funding provided by Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF).

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