Deadly rains hit Dominican Republic and Haiti

تم النشر: 25 مايو 2004 0:00 CET

Eva M. Calvo

At least 150 people have lost their lives in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and more than 300 are believed to be missing after both countries were hit by torrential rains in the past few days.

In the Dominican Republic, where the rainstorms have claimed the lives of at least 80 people, the government has declared a state of emergency. Thirty-four of the victims were children.

According to the authorities, around 450 houses are completely flooded. Those people whose homes and belongings have been lost have been accommodated by relatives and friends.

In coordination with the Civil Defence forces, volunteers and staff of the Dominican Republic Red Cross have been taking part in the search and rescue operation in the flood-hit areas of Jimani and Duarte San Francisco, and evacuating affected families.

Both the Dominican Republic Red Cross and the Haiti Red Cross - which is also involved in search and rescue and evacuation efforts - are being supported by disaster management experts from the International Federation’s Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), based in Panama.

An estimated 58 people have died in floods in the Haitian town of Fond Verrettes, on the border with the Dominican Republic, some 70 km from the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Experts say the situation is likely to worsen, with the intense rainfall expected to continue for another week. There is the possibility of landslides in areas that have been badly affected by the rains.