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Rehabilitation of education, health and road infrastructure in Jamaica after passage of Hurricane Dean in August 2007

Rehabilitation of education, health and road infrastructure in Jamaica after passage of Hurricane Dean in August 2007


After Hurricane Dean swept through Jamaica in August 2007, the government was faced with the daunting task of rebuilding and repairing essential services for tens of thousands of people, including schools, health centers, and roads. From December 2007 to June 2011, a World Bank project successfully rehabilitated 71 facilities within 13 Parishes that felt the brunt of Hurricane Dean. Results show that levels of service in targeted facilities were restored at least to pre-hurricane level. Target facilities included 37 primary or all-age and basic schools, 19 health clinics and 15 roads. The project also financed capacity building in disaster preparedness and infrastructure maintenance in all the communities addressed by the project.


Jamaica is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, with a total of 96.3 percent of the population and 94.9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) exposed to two or more natural hazards. Hurricane Dean hit Jamaica in August 2007, causing extensive damage estimated at US$330 million. Approximately 10 percent of the population was directly affected by the hurricane, with a total of six deaths and 630 people injured. Schools, health centers, and roads suffered most of the damage. The Government of Jamaica approached the Bank to help it address the reconstruction needs of the poorer segments of the population. The goal was to serve communities and their basic infrastructure facilities for which no resources for reconstruction were available. In particular, the project also helped address the limited capacity at the government and community levels to better manage natural risks.


The project design combined reconstruction of affected education, health, and roads facilities with capacity-building to strengthen local and national capacity for disaster risk management. More importantly, the reconstruction efforts emphasized the philosophy of “building back better”; for example by introducing simple technologies such as hurricane straps in all the buildings, even if only one section of the building had been damaged, or by introducing safety or sanitation features within school facilities that were not present before the Hurricane. It also emphasized the involvement of the local community through the creation of local maintenance committees.


From December 2007 to June 2011, the Emergency Recovery Loan helped to restore services in targeted facilities through the reconstruction of 71 schools, health clinics, and rural roads that benefited 56,540 people. For example, attendance to primary and all-age schools climbed from 80 percent in 2007 to 90 percent in 2011; and usage rates for health clinics increased from 100 percent in 2007 to 125 percent in 2011. Although increases in attendance and usage rates cannot be fully attributed to the rehabilitation works, the indicator shows the general trend towards reestablishment of pre-hurricane service rates.

These results are backed by beneficiary satisfaction surveys conducted twice throughout the life of the project, in 2009, and 2011. Survey results surpassed – in all cases - the original target of 60 percent of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with the rehabilitation works. A total of 96 percent of beneficiaries reported to be satisfied (or very satisfied) with the rehabilitation works of the early childhood facilities, 82 percent  with the primary and all-age schools, 88 percent with the clinics, and 71 percent with the roads. Through its capacity building component, the project trained 330 community members and formed 71 maintenance committees.

Bank Contribution

The project was entirely financed through a loan of US$10 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


The project leveraged additional resources to complement its rehabilitation and capacity building components. These included a US$2.5 million grant from the European Commission to rehabilitate basic infrastructure in the education and health sectors after Tropical Storm Gustav hit the island in 2008. The grant closed in December 2011 and successfully supported the rehabilitation of 12 sub-projects. A second source of additional funding was a US$212,700 grant from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery to finance preparation and dissemination of coastal multi-hazard mapping and vulnerability assessments in three coastal communities in Jamaica.

Moving Forward

The project’s design incorporated measures to increase the sustainability of the investments. In each of the targeted facilities, the project supported the creation and training of local maintenance committees, which included facility staff, interest groups (such as parents’ associations for education facilities) and individuals. Their broad responsibility is to coordinate the necessary efforts to ensure that the facility is properly maintained. These committees prepare and implement a maintenance plan, promote community awareness on the importance of adequate maintenance of public assets, and carry out measures to secure funding for maintenance through fundraising.


The direct beneficiaries of the project were the members of the communities affected by Hurricane Dean; specifically 62,790 people who directly benefited.

According to the principal of Labyrinth Primary School, Audrey Fisher, the [rehabilitation] effort is expected to improve the numbers of students attending the school, especially as it will also provide more food through a breakfast and lunch programme, which will be boosted through chicken broiler and layer house construction.” Quoted from The Gleaner Newspaper, June 8, 2011.

“The Elim Early Childhood Institution in St. Elizabeth is one of several schools to have received attention under a joint World Bank/European Union (EU) hurricane-recovery programme. Elim Early Childhood Institution's principal, Tamuca Forbes, recalls that "there were cracks to the building and the building itself was falling apart. The building had no ceiling, no proper ventilation, it was not enclosed, it was unsafe really for the children.” Quoted from The Gleaner Newspaper, October 3, 2011.

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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