Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Project launched in Dominica

Dominica has partnered with a full-scale engineering, construction, and management firm to reduce the coastal vulnerability of its citizens.

Smith Warner International (SWI) will spearheaded this project for coastal communities called the Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Project (CHVP). SWI is a company headquartered in Jamaica and has satellite offices in Canada, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

With CHVP, the aim is to “improve access to data,” which will eventually strengthen “decision-making autonomy of communities, and key sectors of Dominica who are reliant on coastal resources.”

“With its ecosystem-based approach, the project tries to avoid fighting against the sea by looking for more sustainable solutions that work with the sea,” Dominica News Online wrote.

Two of Dominica’s main objectives in undertaking CHVP include “a comprehensive coastal erosion and vulnerability assessment, and a resilience publication.”

“We at Smith Warner did an assessment many years ago in 2007 so definitely now in 2023 technology is a lot more advanced. We have drones, much better satellite imagery, we are also going to do beach profiles assessment, and shoreline analysis,” said Gabrielle Abraham, a GIS specialist and Project Manager at SWI.

Unlike the usual assessments where satellite imagery is the main source of information, the CHVP will employ persons who can actually come in do the surveys, and do the analysis on the ground in Dominica. The government hopes the project improves the coastal vulnerability data in Dominica.

This is not the first time Dominica has contracted the services of SWI. In 2007, SWI founder David Smith was part of the UN Commission that conducted the assessment on damages following Hurricane Dean’s. And just recently, in 2021, a private Dominican citizen contacted SWI to enhance the beach area in front of Anichi Beach Development.

Dominica is one of the most disaster-vulnerable countries on Earth, experiencing disastrous hurricanes and typhoons throughout the years. Since Hurricane Maria in 2017, the island has been working on becoming the world’s first climate-resilient country.

The government has partnered with international entities such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to develop its sustainable infrastructure. Dominica has also contracted Dubai-based developing company MMC Development Ltd. to build residential units, healthcare facilities, and the island’s international airport.

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