Since Hurricane Maria 1,862 persons are in 63 shelters, observational evidence suggests that there is a
predominance of women, elderly persons, and children in the shelters. Site visits indicate that elderly women
are doing the majority of the care work especially in the shelters. Respondents indicated that they were spending at least 18 hours per week on unpaid care work, which represents a significant increase since the hurricane. Most of these elderly women (over 65) are also the head of household (HoHs), with households comprising on average five persons. Most of the elderly men in the shelters were on their own. In Marigot, St Andrew, many of the infirm were elderly men. There were concerns raised in shelters and by those who were able to move back to their communities in St David and St Andrew, that special care was needed for the elderly, persons living with disabilities and the mentally unstable. With most primary schools closed, there have been reports of primary caregivers, who are mainly women, leaving children in the shelters under communal care, usually that of an elderly woman. Most secondary schools in Roseau have been opened but only for 4th and 5th formers, leaving adolescents 11-14 outside of schools. As previously mentioned women represented 39 percent of the HoHs in Dominica. Site visit interviews highlighted that many women, particularly the elderly women HoHs, did not have housing insurance because they were living in family homes which were built by their parents. These women indicated they were unable to move out of the
shelters because they did not have access to housing material or knowledge of where to source the material. In spite of this, their main concern was being able to pay for the labor needed to assist them in rebuilding.
76 percent of the women farmers interviewed reported that they were significantly impacted by the severe loss of tools and crops. However, in Marigot (St Andrew) and Warner (St. Paul) women reported having some root crops remaining, which they shared among the community and in shelters. Women reported that although they lost some livestock, the lack of feed, shelter and water is resulting in increased losses every day. Access to health care has been compromised since the hurricane because all health centers around the island have been impacted. Since the Hurricane primary health services continue to be offered in buildings with only emergency repairs or in alternate premises. Many women interviewed indicated that increased communication was needed to make sure everyone was aware of where and how to access critical health services. Recovery needs reflect the need for targeted assistance, particularly for single parent families headed by women, including material support for reconstruction needs; livelihood assistance, particularly for women farmers; gender training and psychological support.
Taken from these original sources