At least 21 dead in Dominican Republic after storm brings torrential rain

November 20, 2023
A flooded road in San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic
A flooded road in San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO — At least 21 people have died in the Dominican Republic after heavy rain over the weekend which displaced thousands of residents, officials say.

An investigation has been launched after nine people died when torrential rain caused a highway tunnel wall to collapse in the capital Santo Domingo.

More than 13,000 people were evacuated to secure areas after heavy downpours

The Emergency Operations Center (COE) said rain caused flooded homes, power cuts and damaged bridges and roads.

Three children were among those killed.

Dominican President Luis Abinader called it the "largest rainfall event ever" in the country's history, following torrential storms over the past 48 hours.

The Caribbean nation has been battered by torrential rainfall with footage on social media showing torrents of water flowing through streets and washing away vehicles.

More than 2,500 people were rescued and more than 2,600 homes affected by the storm, the COE said.

It added that 45 communities were without communication as of Sunday afternoon.

The rainfall, which resulted from a tropical depression, is expected to continue across parts of the country into Monday, the US embassy said.

A majority of the nation's 32 provinces remain under red and yellow weather alerts, it added.

President Abinader said classes have been suspended until Wednesday "in order to evaluate the schools that may have been affected" and "guarantee the safety of our young people".

He posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he was "deeply shocked by the loss of life due to the heavy rains" and offered "unconditional support to all those affected by this emergency".

Four of those killed were US nationals, and three were from neighbouring Haiti, AFP news agency reported. — BBC

November 20, 2023
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