More than two dozen people are dead on the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, after torrential rainfall over three days created severe flooding, downed trees and power lines, and devastated crops.
At least 21 of the deaths occurred in the Dominican Republic where nine people died in the capital of Santo Domingo on Saturday after the heavy rains caused the wall of a highway tunnel to collapse, Dominican officials said. Another death occurred when a man named José Altagracia Guzmán was swept away by the waters while shepherding cows.
The Emergency Operations Center said while the system, which moved across the Caribbean, displaced thousands, at least 2,571 Dominicans had to be rescued in the middle of the storm. The storm not only flooded hundreds of homes in communities like San Cristobal, but in the Lavapiés sector, two of them were swallowed up by a sinkhole.
Dominican President Luis Abinader said he was “deeply shocked” by the loss of life, which also included several children.
On Monday, the Emergency Operations Center said most of the country’s provinces remained on alert for the possible flooding of rivers, streams and ravines as the country continues to experience rainfall and gusts of winds.
Over in Haiti, the disaster office said at least four people are dead and two others are missing after the heavy downpour sent water rushing through rural towns and destroyed crops at a time when most Haitians are battling severe hunger.
Already wrestling with an outbreak of cholera, Haiti’s health sector also fears the spread of the waterborne disease and others in some areas as rivers and coastal areas remain flooded and roads remain cut off.
“Traffic remains difficult in downtown Port-de-Paix due to the accumulation of mud in the streets,” the Office of Civil Protection said Monday in its latest disaster report on the weather event. “The Chardonnières communal cemetery is flooded. Several graves are destroyed or damaged.”
The devastation is particularly concerning in the southwest, where many people were living under tarps after being displaced by a devastating earthquake on Aug. 14, 2021. As the tropical system approached over the past few days with life-threatening rains and 35 mph sustained winds, many people were forced to evacuate.
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