Learning from the Aftermath of Hurricane Maria: MGI Maps Hurricane Resilience in Dominica

The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI), in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London and the Create Caribbean Institute, has been awarded a three-year grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund. The Caribbean Cyclone Cartography project will work to map hurricane-related adaptations, survivals and recoveries in Dominica to create resources that will inform future disaster preparedness.

MGI will lead citizen-based geoinformatic surveys that will explore, analyse and document Dominican place-based knowledge of cyclonic hazards, shelters and response agencies across the island. MGI will facilitate the creation of a digital, multi-disciplinary map of Dominica, populated by historic, contemporary, ethnographic and geoinformatic data of place-based cyclone resilience. MGI has worked in Dominica on previous projects, including the, “Integration of Climate Resilience in the Road Transport Sector” project, which was delivered in partnership with IMC Worldwide Limited and funded by the Caribbean Development Bank. This project worked to assess the state of Dominica’s transport sector and its vulnerability to storm and landslide events.

Map showing Tropical Cyclone Tracks, Intensity and Frequency in Dominica (MGI, IMC)

The current Caribbean Cyclone Cartography project comes following the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria on the island nation of Dominica. The Category 5 hurricane resulted in both loss of life and the destruction of approximately 90% of the island’s buildings, equivalent to a total of US$1.3 billion in infrastructural damages.


Morning after Hurricane Maria in Dominica

Months after, the Dominican government pledged, along with the support of the World Bank, United Nations and Clinton Foundation, to become the world’s first ‘climate resilient nation’, with a focus on strengthening its’ emergency response systems, housing and tourism infrastructure. However, very little is known about the hurricane resilience of Dominicans while the global rise in sea temperatures threatens to further intensify future storms.

The CCC project will produce a comprehensive open-source digital archive which will serve as a resource to help citizens and disaster officials better organize for, navigate and recuperate from future storms – thuspromoting regional wellbeing, security and sustainability.

For more information on the Caribbean Cyclone Cartography project, see the University of London’s article here