On 18 September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit the independent island of Dominica, as a category 5 storm with winds of up to 160 mph, the second major hurricane to hit the region in just a few weeks. As a result of the storm, 90% of buildings lost their roofs, leaving roads and businesses devastated.
With over 30 fatalities and the island’s entire infrastructure – homes, agriculture, electricity and water supplies – destroyed, IsraAID arrived to conduct initial assessments and deliver much needed relief goods including hygiene kits, water filters, generators as well as vital medical and psychological support.
IsraAID's team has stayed in the country since the disaster, focusing on rebuilding roofs, expanding livelihood opportunities, education projects and disaster risk reduction.
60% of Dominica’s population is made up of youth; many of whom lack upward mobility opportunities, especially in rural parts of the island. The Youth Development Division of the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, one of the primary providers for skills training for young people on the island, had over 80% of their training facilities destroyed in Hurricane Maria. Even before the storm, 23% of young people were unemployed. IsraAID is working with partners to support young entrepreneurs in Dominica to develop, set up, operate, scale, and sustain business enterprises. This will enable them to generate income and enhance the local job market, and eventually the overall economy of Dominica. IsraAID’s program seeks to equip young people with the skills, knowledge, and experience to develop viable businesses through incubator activities; mentoring and support; access to seed-funding; and other methods of business development training and support. This program was featured at the Clinton Global Initiatives Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, held in January 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.