Fay, the sixth Atlantic storm of the season tears across the Caribbean

Published: 20 August 2008 0:00 CET

The Red Cross remains on high alert as Tropical Storm Fay has dumped torrential rains on the island of Hispaniola, eastern and central Cuba, Jamaica and the northern Cayman Islands. At least 54 deaths on Hispaniola have been attributed to Fay, the sixth Atlantic storm of the season.

In Haiti, the swelling of rivers due to the rainfall caused the deaths of seven people, with two more missing. Some 65 people who had been evacuated in Jacmel were able to return to their homes, while two houses were washed away and fifty more flooded in Tiburon. More than forty persons were killed when the bus they were on overturned and fell into the Glace River. Haitian Red Cross volunteers were mobilised to assist affected families and to conduct needs assessments.

In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, more than 2,000 people were evacuated to temporary shelters, hundreds of houses were damaged and power to more than 15,000 homes was knocked out. The passage of Tropical Storm Fay in the Dominican territory has killed four people and caused havoc in 30 communities, damaging bridges and roads, leaving 17 communities isolated.

Fay moved into the Dominican Republic where rivers have burst their banks and hundreds of homes were damaged. Temporary shelters have been opened to house more than 2,000 people. The most affected province is Azua in the south; the National District and Santo Domingo are also flooded.  There is substantial damage to infrastructure such as bridges, houses and electrical stations.

Dominican Red Cross (DRC) response teams have performed search and rescue activities, helped evacuate families and continue damage and needs assessments.  In Azua, the DRC disaster response coordinator is working closely with the municipal crisis committee.

In Cuba, with the support of the Cuban Red Cross (CRC), some 10,000 people were evacuated and on 18 August, the Civil Defence declared a return to normal for all the affected provinces. There were no reports of deaths or injured people.  The CRC also disseminated prevention messages through national and regional media and undertook immediate needs assessments.

The International Federation, through its Pan American Disaster Response Unit, based in Panama, is monitoring the situation in coordination with the concerned National Societies.  Future support will be determined as the situation unfolds.