About 15 years ago, I fell in love with the Dominican Republic while I was there for a week of watershed restoration research, courtesy of The Nature Conservancy. The government of the Dominican Republic also invited me and my wife, Maria, to an economic development conference held at a magnificent historic castle, where we had a truly magical day.
So, I was very sorry when, in September of 2022, Hurricane Fiona hit the Dominican Republic, with winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour.
Fiona caused severe flooding and extensive damage to livelihoods and critical services. The storm affected over 1.4 million people and caused widespread damage to public infrastructure, agriculture, water supplies and housing.
Thus, I was very happy to hear on January 23, 2023 that the World Bank had approved a $200 million reconstruction loan to the Dominican Government following the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona.
Through this financing, more support will be provided for affected communities and the strengthening of the country’s institutional capacity to manage climate risk and chart a more resilient, inclusive recovery path.
“The World Bank promptly responded to the request from the Government of the Dominican Republic to continue to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction needed following Hurricane Fiona. This support will be key for assisting the affected areas even more, reducing the financial and economic impact of disasters and improving the country’s capacity to respond to future natural hazards,” said Dominican Finance Minister José Manuel Vicente.
The Dominican Republic Hurricane Fiona Emergency Response Project will focus mainly on continuing to support the population of the eight most affected municipalities (Hato Mayor, La Altagracia, La Romana, El Seibo, Monte Plata, Samaná, María Trinidad Sánchez and Duarte), restoring livelihoods, improving crucial public and community infrastructure and reducing the vulnerability of communities to natural hazards and the negative impacts of climate change.
“Disasters have a greater impact on the poorest households and pose significant risks to the economic stability, security and well-being of the population,” said Alexandria Valerio, World Bank Representative for the Dominican Republic.
“Through this project, we will work closely with the Dominican Republic to support families affected by Fiona, as well as medium- and long-term development goals that enable the country to become more resilient in a more inclusive and sustainable way,” she added.
The project will benefit 70,000 people in the most affected areas with timely aid, as well as some 300,000 people through improvements to public and community infrastructure.
The project will also provide at least 54 local governments with access to land planning instruments, enabling better risk management at the municipal and national levels, and following the guidelines of the recently adopted Land Management Law.
Activities will also focus on strengthening geospatial information systems to assess catastrophe risk and adequate response. The entire Dominican population will benefit from the improvement of the government’s capacity to respond to disasters and emergencies.
Photo (© World Bank) shows a woman in a municipality affected by Hurricane Fiona.