The 2017 hurricane season lead to unprecedented damage in the Caribbean. It started with Hurricane Irma in early September, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, with a maximum wind speed of 296 km/h. Irma impacted many Caribbean Islands and was then followed by Hurricane Jose, and a few days later Hurricane Maria, which developed from a category 1 to a category 5 hurricane within 18 hours. Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica, a small Caribbean Island, in particular. It impacted the entire population of the island, and 92 per cent of the inhabitants were in need for humanitarian aid. On 29 September 2017, a flash appeal for Dominica was launched. This flash appeal requested USD 31.1 million in order to provide live-saving assistance to the affected population. It also identified the most urgent needs to be addressed: food, water, electricity, building repair materials and tarpaulins. As such, most of the flash appeal has been dedicated to food security and access to water.
This chapter deals with this very scenario: the event has passed, and the State is overwhelmed and incapable of coping with the situation itself; thus it is a disaster in the sense defined by this book. Positioned in the emergency relief phase, according to the disaster cycle, as described above in Chapter 1, Figure 1, this chapter's focus differs from that of the previous chapters. This chapter, as well as Chapter 5, examines the duties and obligations of the affected State and what the rights of the affected individuals are.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF THE STATE DURING THE DISASTER
The first part of this chapter analyses the duties of the affected State during a disaster situation. The main focus lies on the protection of the affected population. Therefore, the obligation to protect the victims themselves is examined, and then the first section of the chapter continues by looking at the possible duty to seek international assistance, along with whether, and under what conditions, this duty applies. This analysis takes a very close look at the Draft Articles, in particular Articles 10, 11 and 13. General international human rights law is also taken into consideration while developing the legal arguments.