Santo Domingo/Panama City, 02 May 2017— More heavy rains are expected in the Dominican Republic over the next couple of weeks, prompting the state-run Emergency Operations Centre (COE) to declare an emergency alert for 25 provinces.
More than 9,000 people have already been forced to leave their homes into shelters as heavy rains and flooding have swept over southern Dominican Republic since late April.
Torrential downpours have engorged rivers, triggered landslides and wiped away crops, roads and buildings, which have hampered emergency relief operations in some areas. Major water pipes have been damaged, limiting access to safe water and raising the risk of waterborne diseases.
The Dominican Republic Red Cross has activated emergency teams in the worst affected provinces of San Cristobal, Duarte and Barahona. Initial rapid assessments from these teams indicate shelter, water and sanitation and emergency healthcare, with an emphasis on vector control and waterborne diseases response, are urgent priority needs for affected populations. Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to provide first aid, psychosocial support, distributing water, food and helping with the recovery.
“We are very concerned because the heavy rains show no signs of stopping,“ said Ms. Ines Brill, Country Cluster Coordinator for Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “The dams are overflowing and will need to be released. This puts more communities at risk of flooding and disease.”
“Dominican Republic Red Cross volunteers have been assisting these affected populations with first aid and relief items since last December when heavy rains and flooding occurred in these same areas,” said Ms. Ines Brill. “The IFRC is closely monitoring the situation with the Dominican Republic Red Cross, and stands ready to offer support.”
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