Participantes del Foro La Reducción del Riesgo asegura la Resiliencia en los Territorios/UNISDR

Strengthening inclusive DRR in the Dominican Republic

An interagency initiative implemented in the Dominican Republic during 2012-2014 has resulted in the strengthening of community and institutional disaster preparedness in Azua, while ensuring inclusion of groups with specific vulnerabilities, especially women, children, people of Haitian descent and people living with disabilities in disaster risk management (DRM) decision making and resilience building activities. There is evidence of more inclusive DRM action led by empowered local government authorities, many signed up to the Resilient Cities Campaign, who now championing resilience governance in this at-risk Caribbean country.

Title of case study

Warning, informing and including: Strengthening inclusive DRR in the Dominican Republic

HFA Priority Action 



The Dominican Republic is exposed to multiple hazards including floods, landslides, tsunami, earthquakes, and epidemics. Key stakeholders in DRR include: provincial and municipal governments; civil defence; National Institute for Drinking Water and Sewerage (INAPA); the Ministry of Education; and the Association of Municipalities of Valdesia Region (ASOMUREVA). They have all shown an interest in DRR but with very limited technical capacity (few trained personnel), management capacity (no emergency plans) or capacity to implement their own institutional mandates in relation to DRR (lack of tools).

A lack of policies and plans within INAPA leads to minimal support from the central level to the province, a weakness bordering on collapse when it is necessary to respond to emergencies. INAPA’s own emergency plan has not been updated since 1996. Most provincial and municipal actors, while willing, are unable to prepare for or respond to disasters. Sandy revealed a massive failure in leadership at municipal level in particular. Likewise, the elements of an early warning system (EWS) that are present in the province are insufficient for disseminating a widespread alert that might save lives and livelihood.

In addition, marginalisation of the population of Haitian descent results in that population living in flood-prone areas with minimal access to services and sanitation and no meaningful emergency management service from the State. Women and children are also excluded from the predominantly centralized and militarized DRM planning processes.


Dominican Republic

How the problem was addressed?

What was done to address the problem?

Who was involved and what role did they play?

What were the main challenges and how were they overcome?

What are the lessons learnt?

What could have been done differently and why?

The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of communities and state institutions in disaster preparedness and response. It was implemented in the province of Azua, which was badly affected by Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012 as well as by many previous hurricanes, earthquakes and a tsunami in 1961.

The project aimed to ensure that the most at risk communities, municipalities and institutions are better prepared to cope with disasters, ensuring the inclusion of groups with specific vulnerabilities: women, children, people of Haitian descent and people living with disabilities.

To accomplish this, the following objectives were set:

1.     Effective management (local, provincial, national) of information in emergency situations where local government actors are engaged in promoting resilient (and inclusive) communities;

2.     Schools are safer and better prepared for disaster response;

3.     Communities have a better understanding of disaster risks, and are better prepared and able to respond to risks while paying attention to groups with specific vulnerabilities (previously listed);

4.     Sustainability was developed through the development of work plans for the various actors involved and the securing of institutional commitments to the UNISDR Resilient Cities and Safe Schools campaigns.

The project targeted the following actors in capacity building and DRM action planning work: INAPA, Municipal DRR Units, Municipal DRR Committees, Provincial DRR Committees, Búsqueda y Rescate en Estructuras Colapsadas (BREC), Comités Municipales de Prevención Mitigación y Respuesta (CMPMR), Civil Defence Units. Staff of the municipal and provincial authorities of Azua (province and municipality), Estebania and Las Charcas have benefited from the development of municipal/provincial DRM committees and units, emergency plans, tools and training. With the acquisition of these skills and resources they are now more empowered to lead DRM interventions that better protect their constituents including marginalized groups from disaster risks.


What was the result of this approach/intervention?

The Azua provincial DRR committee has a provincial contingency plan harmonised at all levels (provincial and local) and tested by an exercise, which considers specific vulnerabilities.

At the end of the project, 16 key institutions in rapid needs assessment are now able to use an updated national emergency needs assessment tool for application within 72 hours after a disaster.

By the end of the project, four target municipalities have CMPMR and operational municipal DRR units capable of effectively conducting their own risk mapping and urban risk assessment as well as municipal emergency plans. 

Four municipalities have signed up for the Resilient Cities Campaign and at least two municipalities have committed to the Children’s Charter for DRR.

Measuring success

What were the key elements of success?

Was the success/impact measured?

If so, what indicators were used to measure?

If not, why not?

At the start of work on updating the Improving Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA) tool, the key officials of Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) and consortium technical team members set up a “Follow-up Support Team” in charge of supporting and following up the progress of the consultancy, and of establishing close coordination and cooperation with the Consultants’ Team during all the phases of this work. The DANA Form updating process took place in five phases:

1.     Review of expectations and analysis of documents;

2.     Design of a detailed work plan, tools for interviews and mini-simulations and workshops;

3.     Analysis of the problems and a search for innovative solutions;

4.     Design of DANA tools;

5.     Training and validation of the products.

During the review process of the DANA form, two drills were held on the ground, as well as three workshops in which COE technicians, civil defence and fire brigade personnel from Azua took part. 

The objective of these workshops and simulations was to ensure that the tool fitted the information requirements of the institutions that make up the COE sectorial panels for decision-making in emergency situations.

The simulations were carried out in the field, in the communities of:

·       La Bombita, in Los Acostados sector (Complementary DANA);

·       La Bombita, San Miguel sector (Preliminary DANA with card);

·       Puerto Viejo (Preliminary DANA with format) and they simulated the effects of hurricane Sandy.

These simulations yielded the following results: Information gathering using the Preliminary DANA format by a single person took between 45 and 60 minutes. Information gathering with complementary DANA by five people from the provincial level (civil defence, fire brigade, Public Works, INAPA and Public Health) without filling in the needs section took around two hours and 30 minutes. This suggests that the full gathering and reflection on needs would probably take between three and four hours. Data transmission time via radio and telephone was around 15 minutes for the preliminary DANA and 20 to 25 minutes for the complementary (incomplete, the needs section was not gathered). The conclusion from these simulations is that 30 to 45 minutes are needed in order to report a full complementary DANA in all its sections.

The results obtained from these simulations allowed the support team and the consultants to take the following actions: simplify existing DANA formats, provide instructions on the required information, make a verification list for the evaluators to validate the minimum requirements, design small DANA cards for handbag/pocket use with instructions for the preliminary and complementary DANA to hand out in large numbers to all the civil defence volunteers, fire brigade, community networks, etc.

Create capacities for conducting the preliminary DANA through trained information coordinators, who contact community volunteers using a contact list previously prepared at municipal/provincial level and ask questions that follow the preliminary DANA format. Other recommendations have been made to the COE and are in process of implementation.

Following this, the DANA form was used during a national drill for the hurricane season and the tsunami drill by the BREC units, and it was officially used for information gathering during the recent emergency due to floods in Montecristi province in November 2014. 

The tool was shared with other DRR actors during the Regional DRR Platform meeting held in May 2014 in Quito, Ecuador and can be viewed on the COE webpage:

Relevance to HFA

How have the results contributed to HFA progress in the country?

Did HFA OR Making Cities Resilient Campaign play a role in enabling this initiative?

If yes, how / If no, what needs to be done in HFA2 to enable such initiatives?

The project succeeded in consolidating the formation and training process of the Unidades Municipales de Gestión del Riesgo (UMdGR) and CMPMRs. Four work plans and four emergency plans were prepared led by each of the municipal councils that took part in the project. The accompaniment and cooperation of la Federación Dominicana de Municipios (FEDOMU), and the ASOMUREVA and ADODIN associations in this project are worth highlighting; they encouraged the local governments to take on a stronger commitment to DRR.

The four UMdGRs are made up of 69 technicians of whom 29 are women (42%). In the municipality of Azua and the municipal district of Palmar de Ocoa the UMDGRs are coordinated by women.

The formation and training process was carried out through several workshops and with the advanced course on local risk management, taught by the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), after which the university certified 27 people as local disaster risk managers.

The UMdGRs have been assigned offices in the four municipal councils. The project has equipped these offices with computers and office equipment that will enable them to continue doing their work. One risk map per municipality was prepared, and the UMdGR technicians received specialised training in mapping. Free Google Earth software was installed that will enable the municipal councils to update the maps that were developed as part of the project.

At the end of the project, some UMdGRs and CMPMRs were already executing some actions at their own initiative. The municipal council of Las Charcas, for example, has completed the construction of a building for response institutions. In the sector of La Bombita, the municipal council of Azua is executing mitigation works such as bridge construction and reinforcing the Via River and the Cañada del Diablo (Devil’s Gully). In Palmar de Ocoa, INAPA is installing pipes for supplying drinking water to the sector that is located at the entrance to the beach. In other areas of Azua province similar works are being carried out. The Azua CMPMR is preparing an internal drill in the mayor’s office to assess the municipal councils’ response capacity and to raise awareness on the issue among officials.

According to the conclusions of the Kundalini Awakening Process (KAP), the CMPMRs have changed their approach to emergencies to an increased preparedness vision. “While not all the committees have the same levels of awareness and/or training (as in the case of Estebania and Charcas) most of them have shown a change from a vision and practice centred on emergency and response to a vision and practice centred on prevention, mitigation and response work. This has been helped not just by the training courses received, but also by the accompaniment of the Disaster Preparedness Programme of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO) in formulating the plans (RM and emergency/contingency), preparation of maps, evacuation routes, meeting points, provision of response inputs, warning systems or conducting drills, which have enabled the committees and the entities that they consist of to develop PMR capacities and especially awareness and tools for DRR. At present, and in contrast with the initial KAP, the Committees are organised and are no longer spaces that are activated for an emergency (except Estebania and Las Charcas) but have become DRM planning and coordination spaces. On this last point coordination and communication channels and mechanisms with the national COE, other Municipal and Provincial committees and the Community Networks in each area of intervention have been identified (one Network member is on the Committee).

The process of strengthening and consolidating the CMPMRs and UMdGRs began with the forum on “DRR ensures resilience on the ground”. The forum took place from 5-6 February 2014 and was led by FEDOMU and the following municipal associations: ASOMUREVA, ASOMUREHI, ASOMURE, ASOMURECIN and ASOMUREN in coordination with UNISDR. A total of 99 people, 33 municipal councils (21 mayors) from municipalities nationwide took part in the event, and the most notable results of the forum were:

 ·       18 officials from municipalities and municipal Districts signed the Children’s Charter for DRR;

·       Two officials joined the Resilient Cities Campaign – Las Charcas and Estebania;

·       11 officials showed an interest in the Resilient Cities Campaign;

·       The Municipalities and Municipal Districts that do not have UMdGRs established their creation as a priority;

·       FEDOMU committed itself, along with other organisations (ASOMUREVA, ASOMUREHI, ASOMURE, ASOMURECIN and ASOMUREN) to follow up on the formation of the UMdGRs, as well as to support training and follow-up on the municipalities and municipal districts that have expressed interest in the campaign;

·       The UMdGR coordinator in San Pedro de Macorís made a commitment to support the Guayacanes Municipal Unit in reviewing the results of the risk analysis on the occurrence of a tsunami, as well as advising them on the preparation of their DRM work plan;

·       Nicolás Guzmán, Director of the El Barro Municipal Council, agreed to commit part of his budget to working on the issue of DRM in his area, and signed the Children’s Charter for DRR while showing an interest in learning more about the Resilient Cities campaign;

·       The Mayor of Jaquimeyes, Domingo M. Florián, committed to continue working on DRR. This municipal district has carried out several mitigation works and will now be allocating part of their budget to DRM;

·       Montecristi Mayor, Luis Mendez stated that “the DRR issue is not a political party issue” and committed to working in his municipality and to organise its UMdGR;

·       Las Salinas Mayor, Luis Concepción Gomez committed to allocating resources and organising a UMdGR.

One area of progress that was achieved with the registration for the Resilient Cities Campaign is that municipalities like San Pedro de Macorís have included risk management in their development planning.

Potential for replication

Can this initiative be replicated? Or has it already been replicated? If so, where?

Provide a brief explanation on: how, and if there is no potential for replication.

The innovative approach to advance HFA1 implementation in Dominican Republic has been replicated by Plan and OXFAM in Paraguay under the “Chake Out” DFID funded Project.

Contribution by

Plan Dominican Republic, DIPECHO Project Manager – Diana Diaz

Plan UK, DRR & Resilience Advisor – Kelly Hawrylyshyn