Dominica Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Cites Ham Radio's Role After Maria:
The ARRL Letter
February 8, 2018
Add a comment about this article!
Dominica Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Cites Amateur Radio's Role After Maria:
A post-hurricane disaster needs assessment published this past fall by
the Government of Dominica points up the significance of Amateur
Radio's role in the relief and recovery effort on the tiny Caribbean
island nation in the wake of Hurricane Maria last September. It also
calls for expanding the pool of radio amateurs on the island who could
help in future disasters.
The report, Commonwealth of Dominica Post-Disaster Needs Assessment --
Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017
noted that all telecommunication services on Dominica except for
Amateur Radio were disabled from September 19 to 21. Some 30 cellular
sites were destroyed or severely damaged, and the fiber-optic backbone
was severed in several locations, leading to a nationwide loss of
connectivity, the report said. In addition to the private
telecommunications networks, "an emergency communications network
consisting of Amateur Radio operators is supposed to exist within the
purview of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)," the report pointed
The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment concluded that Hurricane Maria
caused nearly $931 million in damage, plus losses of more than $380
million -- which, according to the report, amounts to 226% of
Dominica's 2016 gross domestic product (GDP).
"The interruption of telecommunication services had a significant
negative human impact as Dominica was almost cut off from the outside
world for 3 days. Communities within Dominica were isolated from one
another," said the report, which was published last November 15.
The needs assessment said that "a sparse Amateur Radio network"
suffering from a lack of trained operators and back-up power, plus "a
few satellite phones" delivered information "required for critical
relief and rescue activities."
"The Government should rehabilitate the ECN (Emergency Communications
Network) by offering training to persons interested in becoming Amateur
Radio operators nationwide, with the goal of having a licensed Amateur
Radio operator in every community with an emergency shelter," the
Dominica is still in the recovery phase in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The report also proposed that emergency shelters and the EOC be
equipped with Amateur Radio and/or a satellite phone, "so that contact
may be quickly established during or after a storm." The report also
recommended that the government of Dominica "develop a plan for the
operation and maintenance of the network long term, including
replacement of equipment, training of operators and activation
procedures for the network in case of an emergency."
In the short term, the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment advised,
rehabilitation of the existing National Emergency Communications
Network should include the purchase of Amateur Radio equipment,
including repeaters, as well as satellite phones and "other technology
required for the network."
The Yasme Foundation
http://www.yasme.org/, Yaesu USA
https://www.yaesu.com/, the Foundation for Amateur International
Radio Service (FAIRS
http://www.fairs.org/home/), and individual
donors joined forces last fall to restore country-wide Amateur Radio
communication on Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Private
pilots Brian Machesney, K1LI, and Dave Bridgham, N1AHF, transported a
planeload of Amateur Radio gear, relief equipment, and supplies as part
of an effort to better prepare the small Caribbean island nation for
future disasters. -- Thanks to Brian Machesney, K1LI
The ARRL Letter
There are no comments on this article: