Dominica


Historical disasters in Dominica
Compiled by: C.J. van Westen

Last updated: 09-02-2016

The preliminary results of the data collection on disaster events are presented in this section and all data are aggregated into a single table below. The data covers a long period starting in the 18th century. For many of the historical events it was possible to reconstruct the date of occurrence. The table also indicates for the various events whether there were indications of landslide occurrence, and if so whether the location of the landslides are known. Unfortunately this is not the case for most of the events. We believe that this catalogue is the most comprehensive that was made for the country until now, and hope it will be updated whenever new events occur.

Table: Historical disaster events in Dominica collected from different sources (NI = No Information). C = casualties. Red records have landslides reported.

Year

Day

Events

Reported incidents

Landslide Location known?

C


1764


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1766


October


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1769


26/07/1769


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1772


30/08/1772


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1776


06/09/1776


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1780


09/10/1780


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1787


03/08/1787


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


Also on August 23 and 29


Unknown


 


1792


01/08/1792


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1806


09/09/1806


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


Landslides and Flooding. hurricane struck the island In the 1806 hurricane 131 people died mainly as a result of the Roseau river shifting its course and flooding the capital


Unknown


131


1813


23/07/1813


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


Flooding.  Tidal wave


Unknown


 


1813


25/08/1813


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


Flooding of Roseau to a depth of 10 ft.


Unknown


 


1815


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1816


15/08/1816


Earthquake


5 Richter scale


 


 


1817


21/10/1817


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1818


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1819


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1820


26/09/1820


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1826


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1834


10/09/1834


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1834


20/09/1834


Hurricane


Landslides and Flooding. Very severe event, like Hurricane David


Unknown


200


1838


??/06/1838


Earthquake


5 on Richter scale


 


 


1839


21/09/1839


Earthquake


5 on Richter scale


 


 


1843


08/02/1843


Earthquake


IX Richter scale ?? probably mean IX on Mercalli scale, althought hey also report VIII intensity.  Several walls and chimneys fell down, many wall cracked. In the North at Londonderry and Melville HJall many sugar mills were destroyed. Melville hall, river sanks with several inches and was diverted 20 feet south. Mountains were visible crumbling away.


 


1


1844


10/01/1844


Earthquake


5 on Richter scale. Experienced in all windward islands


 


 


1845


17/12/1845


Earthquake


5 on Richter scale


 


 


1847


16/08/1847


Earthquake


5 on Richter scale


 


 


1849


19/04/1849


Earthquake


VIII on Richter (?) probably Mercalli scale. Severe shock, especially in Grand Bay. Geneva estate and Bericoa estate the mill house and chimney were damaged.


 


 


1851


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1872


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1876


NI


Hurricane / Tropical storm?


NI


Unknown


 


1878


NI


Tropical storm


NI


 


 


1879


10/09/1879


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1880


NI


Volcanic


Phreatic eruption of Valley of Desolation/Watt Mountain Complex


 


 


1883


04/09/1883


Hurricane


125mph winds from the ESE just south


Unknown


 


1889


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1891


18/08/1891


Hurricane


125mph from the S.E


Unknown


 


1893


15/08/1893


Hurricane


80mph from the S.E


Unknown


 


1893


17/02/1893


Earthquake swarm


From 17/02 to 18/03 a serious of shocks in the northern part of Dominica. No damage reported


 


 


1894


20/09/1894


Hurricane


115mph from the ESE


Unknown


 


1896


30/08/1896


Hurricane


80mph from the S.E


Unknown


 


1899


07/08/1899


Hurricane


145mph winds just north while moving WNW


Unknown


 


1901


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1903


07/03/1903


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1903


07/03/1903


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1905


30/03/1905


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1906


16/02/1905


Earthquake


6 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1907


22/08/1905


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1908


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1912


08/02/1912


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1914


03/10/1914


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1916


28/08/1916


Hurricane


Landslides and Flooding. a strengthening tropical storm becomes a hurricane 85mph from the east. The hurricane advanced over the island with but little warning; a number of lives were lost and much property was destroyed on the northern and eastern sides It was evidently of small diameter and great intensity while passing over Dominica. 200 buildings destroyed. 8 ships lost


Unknown


50


1917


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1920


NI


NI


Landslides and Flooding


Unknown


 


1921


12/05/1921


Earthquake


5 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1921


NI


Hurricane


NI


Unknown


 


1924


04/10/1924


Rainfall event


Trafalgar, landslide killed 7 persons


Location more or less known


7


1926


24-7-1926


Hurricane


Landslides and Flooding. Road blocked, serious damage to electric and telephone system


Unknown


 


1927


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1928


12-9-1928


Hurricane


125mph winds just north from the ESE. Sea front damaged. Extensive damage to buildings and cultivation. Damage estimated 66,000 Pounds. Dissatisfaction over Hurricane Relief Fund distribution.


Unknown


 


1930


1-9-1930


Hurricane


Landslides and Flooding. 90mph winds hit the area from the east. Whole year crop lost. 60% of estates uprooted. 1000 houses destroyed, 850 damaged. All services out of action. All fruit trees were gone. Very high waves causing large damage in coastal area. E.g. Mahaut estate. Plantations went bankrupt.


Unknown


200


1933


04/02/1935


Earthquake


4 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1934


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1945


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1946


21/05/1946


Earthquake


6 on Richter (?) scale


 


 


1948


NI


Tropical Storms


Landslides and Flooding


Unknown


 


1949


??/09/-49


Tropical Storms


NI


Unknown


20


1951


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1953


19/03/1953


Earthquake


6 on Richter (?) scale.


 


 


1955


??/09/1955


Hurricane Janet


Ni


Unknown


 


1956


11/08/1956


Hurricane


95mph from the ESE


 


 


1958


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1960


NI


NI


Landslide Bellevue Chopin


Location known


 


1963


28-9-1963


Hurricane Edith


Landslides and Flooding. area gets 80mph gusts Destroyed 50% of all fruit bearing trees,


Unknown


 


1964


22/08/1964


Hurricane Cleo


passes just north from the ESE with 130mph winds


 


 


1964


?


Fire


No information


 


 


1966


??/06/1966


Tropical Storms


Landslides and Flooding. 10,000 Pound aid


Unknown


 


1966


27/09/1966


Hurricane Inez


hits from the east with 125mph winds just north


 


 


1967


11/11/1967


Rainfall event


Landslide Boetica killing 5 persons


Location known


5


1970


20-8-1970


Hurricane Dorothy


Landslides and Flooding. Mostly wind damage. North and East hit mostly. South and central area had river flooding.  EC 1.5 million loss in production of bananas.


Unknown


 


1970


?


Drought


Drought is reported each year from 1970 to 1975


 


 


1977


22/09/1977


NI


Landslide (Bagatelle Disaster) killed 11 persons. Disrupts the village of Bagatelle and temporarily cuts road access to Petite Savanne.


Location known


11


1979


29-8-1979


Hurricane David (Category 5)


caused 42 - 56 casualties, 3000 people needed medical attention, and made 75000 persons homeless, 12 % destroyed (2000 units) 50% severely damaged (8000 units) and 22% moderately damaged. The total estimated damage was over EC$ 53.8 million. 150 mph wind speed lasting 6 hours.


Bad map only


42


1979


01/09/1979


Hurricane Frederick


Damage mixed with the one from Hurricane David that happened shortly before


Unknown


 


1980


04/08/1980


Hurricane Allen (Cat1)


NI


Unknown


 


1981


NI


Tropical storm


NI


Unknown


 


1983


NI


NI


Landslide Bellevue Chopin


Location known


 


1984


NI


NI


Landslides


Unknown


 


1984


6-11-1984


Hurricane Klaus


Landslide at Bellevue Chopin killed 1 person temporarily blocked road access to the south and south-eastern communities from Bellevue Chopin to Petite Savanne, including Grand Bay.


Location known


1


1986


12-11-1986


Several days of heavy rainfall


Landslide Good Hope happened on 12 November, And killed 1 person. Landslide Castle Bruce cuts road access to part of Good Hope village, and to San Sauveur and Petite Soufriere; disrupts way of life of these communities.


Location known


1


1987


 


Hurricane Emily


 


 


 


1988


??/09/1988


Hurricane Gilbert


Landslides Matthieu and Layou River


Location known


 


1989


17/09/1989


Hurricane Hugo


Total damage more than EC$ 20 million, 1 person killed by a landslide


Unknown


1


1990


??


Landslide


Morne Micotrin Slide: Occurs in the form of a long, wide swath, from high up on the southern side of the mountain. Temporarily cuts access to Freshwater Lake, Boeri Lake Trail and Chimen L'etang. The rubble from that slide temporarily interrupts the flow of the tributary of Roseau River coming from Freshwater Lake, and creates a small, short-lived landslide dam and lake. Ti-Tou Gorge becomes very shallow (temporarily) due to sediments being washed from the small lake at the foot of the slide following the dam-break


 


 


1994


10/09/1994


Hurricane Debbie


2,800 acres of banana were affected by the storm. 143 acres of plantains, 355 acres of root crops and 355 acres equivalent of tree crops were also damaged


Unknown


 


1995


27-8-1995


Hurricane Iris


Combined effects as they occurred very close to each other. Flooding, Large landslides Mathieu River. They caused 1 casualty, and caused a projected economic growth rate of 4.5% to be converted into a decline of 2%.


Unknown


1


1995


4-9-1995


Hurricane Marilyn


1995


18-9-1995


Hurricane Luis (Cat 1)


1995


??


Landslide


Trafalgar Falls Rockslide: Physically and visually impacts the "Father Falls" at Trafalgar; buries the hot springs and pools.


Pointe Michel / "Solomon" Slide: Mass of landslide material / rubble temporarily blocks off road access to the southern communities of Pointe Michel, Soufriere, Gallion and Scotts Head.


Carholm Slide: Severs the Layou Valley to Carholm Road, and begins to affect the lower Matthieu River Valley. Its impacts on Layou River receive media attention only a year and a half later.


Location known


 


1997


18-11-1997


25-11-1997


28-11-1997


NI


Debris Flow Mathieu River. Two (2) major landslides within one week in November result in major flooding on each occasion, loss of agricultural lands and buildings, a dramatic transformation of the Layou River channel downstream, raising of the river bed. Resulted in the formation of Mattheiu Dam, Matthieu Lake, and two temporary dams and lakes on the Layou River. The way of life of the village of Layou is also impacted and temporarily disrupted.


Location known


 


1997


NI


Volcanic


Phreatic eruption of Valley of Desolation/Watt Mountain Complex


 


 


1999


18/11/1999


Hurricane Lenny


Landslides in the north, and severe damage to coastal infrastructure on the leeward side of the island


Location of landslides unknown


 


2001


06/10/2001


Tropical storm?


Mentioned in EM-DAT but not in other sources


Unknown


 


2003


NI


NI


Carholm landslide


known


 


2003


9-12-2003


NI


Landslide Bellevue Chopin


known


 


2004


21/11/2004


NI


Series of Landslides reported by Andereck in east part Grand Fond, Petite Soufrie and Mourne Jaune


inventory map


 


2004


21-11-2004


Earthquake


Earthquake 6.3 at 14 km depth. 50 km NNW of Roseau. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2004/usrcaz/


At least twenty houses damaged and power outages occurred in northern Dominica


Partial inventory


 


2007


NI


NI


Landslide Campbell


known


 


2007


NI


NI


Landslide Bellevue Chopin


known


 


2007


29/11/2007


Earthquake


7.4 Magnitude earthquake that occurred 36 km from Sainte-Marie Martinique. North part of Dominica was declared  disaster area. Not clear what the damage was


Unknown


 


2007


21/08/2007


Hurricane Dean (Cta 2)


Flash Flooding. Soufriere Sulphur Springs Debris Flow: Major debris flow from the Soufriere Sulphur Springs' Upper Fumarole Area on the night of Hurricane Dean severely impacts the Glo Gayak stream at Soufriere; results in heavy flooding and sedimentation around the area of the Soufriere School and playing field, etc. Playing field destroyed, and the village's and school's sporting activities affected.


Unknown


2


2008


??/10/2008


Hurricane Omar


NI


Unknown


 


2009


??/07/2009


NI


Flooding


Unknown


 


2009


04/09/2009


Hurricane Erica


27 landslides reported aliong the road network


Known


 


2009


19/12/2009


Landslide


Landslide along road to Scotts head, approximately 150ft south of Melvina's Bar on the outskirts of Pointe Michel,


known


 


2010


10/03/2010


Landslide


Landslide occurred on the Laudat road which toppled a car and almost killed two people. It also caused a blockage and later another slide happened close to the Laudat Trafalgar


Known


 


2010


24/05/2010


Heavy rains Overnight


Saint Sauver Slide, which killed 3 residents. Also landslides were reported in other locations.


known


3


2010


15/08/2010


Landslides


Landslide on the trail to boiling lake. Trail closed


Unknown


 


2010


05/10/2010


Landslide


A landslide - caused by heavy rains - occurred early this morning at Blenhim in northern Dominica (just before the village of Anse De Mai).


 


 


2010


31/10/2010


Hurricane Tomas


20 landslides reported along the road network.


inventory


 


2010


09/11/2010


Landslide


The Antrim Valley land slippage, has caused a blockage of the river and a larger blockage might threaten the downslope houses. The main road keeps sinking


Exact location not known


 


2011


07/05/2011


Landslide


Landslide in Deux Branches area, along the road from Pont Casse to Meville hall airport, required the closure of the road


 


 


2011


16/05/2011


Landslide


Cliff collapse in Atkinson, caused 1 casualty


Not exactly


1


2011


28/06/2011


Landslide dam break


Heavy rainfall caused breach of the Matthieu Dam that was formed as a result of the Carholme landslide in 1997 and caused a massive flooding in Layou River washing out the Gleau Chaud Bridge


known


 


2011


28-7-2011


NI


Miracle Lake Flooding


known


 


2011


29-7-2011


NI


Landslide Soufriere


known


 


2011


03/08/2011


Ni


Several landslides along road at Dubique


Known


 


2011


28/09/2011


Hurricane Ophelia


Severe flooding in Layou, bus flooded, village flooded. 84 landslides along the road. 84 landslides along the road network


inventory


 


2011


29/10/2011


Rain


Road in Fond Cani area blocked by landslides


Known


 


2011


28/11/2011


Heavy rain


Many landslides were reported, e.g. in  Dubique, Fad and Fond St Jean community, Castle Brice and Carib Territory, two major slides in the Penville area with blockages. Morne Jaune to Laplain, Reviere Cyrique and Grand Fond which were blocked. 74 landslides along road network


Inventory


 


2011


30/11/2011


Storm


Three families had to evacuate their homes in Petite Soufriere yesterday because of landslides and more than seven landslides were reported in Castle Bruce. Airport was flooded. Rainfall for several days.


Inventory along roads


 


2011


06/12/2011


Heavy rain


Flooding and landslides in Good Hope and Petite Soufriere. People evacuated. Castle Bruce: 7 to 10 seven major landslides. landslides had been reported in Grand Fond


Not exactly known


 


2011


03/08/2011


Heavy rain


Landslide at Dubique


known


 


2012


25/07/2012


Heavy rain


Landslide at Picard hit a powerline and caused power outage in certain areas


 


 


2012


29-8-2012


Tropical Storm Isaac


Landslides and flash flooding. Prime Minister ordered people to stay home on 22 August


Inventory along roads


 


2012


19/10/2012


Heavy rain


Landslide along road at Dubique


known


 


2013


23/04/2013


Heavy rain


30 Landslides were reported between April 17-20 across the country, including southern community of Petite Savanne, Dubique, road to good Hope, Petite Soufriere, Melville Hall to Pont Casse, and Pont Casse to East coast and on Emerlad pool to Castle Bruce area. Also flashfloods were reported.  Two people were killed when the culvert was washed out near Pont Casse. 44 landslides reported along the road network


Inventory along roads


2


2013


20/08/2013


Heavy rain


Landslide blocking the main road between Soufriere and Pointe Michel


known


 


2013


5-9-2013


NI


Landslide Morne Prosper main road


known


 


2013


24-12-2013


Christmas Eve trough


landsides and Flooding. Flooding in places like Beau Bois, Castle Comfort, and some parts of Newtown


Two slides happened on the hiking trail:



    • along section 13 (Penville to Capuchin).

    • segment one of the Waitukubuli National Trail at the summit of Morne Crabier



Inventory along roads, image interpreted inventory


 


2014


07/01/2014


Landslide


Landslide on road near Mero


Not known


 


2014


16/01/2014


Landslide


Two slides happened


Not known


 


2014


01/08/2014


Tropical storm Bertha


50mph winds


-


 


2015


27/08/2015


Tropical storm Erika


Total damage and loss of EC$1.3 billion (US$483 million), equivalent to approximately 90% of Dominica's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


The majority of damages were sustained in the transport sector (60 percent), followed by the housing sector (11 percent) and agriculture sector (10 percent). Out of a total population of 72,340 persons, 11 persons were confirmed dead, 22 missing, 574 homeless and 713 evacuated with approximately 7,229 impacted by the event in disaster declared areas.


Yes, UNOSAT mapped them from satellite images, and BRGM in field


11