Dominican Republic – 18,000 Remain Displaced by Floods, National Emergency Declared

Heavy rain continues to fall in parts of the Dominican Republic, where thousands remain displaced by floods and landslides that have affected the country since 07 November.

Five locations recorded between 50 and 75 mm of rain in 24 hours between 13 and 14 November. On 07 November, several locations recorded over 100 mm of rain in 24 hours, with Puerto Plata recording more than 200 mm. Over the last 10 days, parts of Puerta Plata have recorded more than 600 mm of rain.

National Emergency

The President of the Dominican Republic decreed a national emergency for the provinces of Puerto Plata, La Vega, Espaillat and María Trinidad Sánchez on Sunday 13 November, then later extended the declaration to include Santiago, Duarte and Samaná. Schools have been closed in affected areas.

Map of Affected Areas

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) have produced a comprehensive map showing the flood affected areas of Dominican Republic.

Map of flood affected areas of Dominican Republic, 14 November 2016. Image: ECHO
Map of flood affected areas of Dominican Republic, 14 November 2016. Image: ECHO

See the full version of the map here. (pdf)

18,000 Displaced, Over 80 Communities Isolated

There are currently 18,060 people displaced, some of whom have been away from their homes for over a week. Many of those displaced are thought to be staying with family or neighbours. Five shelters have been set up by the country’s Emergency Operations Centre (Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias – COE), said to be housing 284 people. Some local commentators said that many have set up temporary camps along roadsides.

Some of those displaced have started to return to their homes. However COE reports that around 70 families have been recently evacuated in Duarte Province as a result of the overflowing Yuna river.

Sixty houses have been totally destroyed with a further 3,612 damaged, 60 of them severely. According to COE, the rain and flooding have also damaged roads and 13 bridges. Damage assessments are ongoing.

As of 15 November there were 81 communities left isolated by flood and landslide damage.

Social media images (see below) show raging flood water sweeping away houses and causing landslides. Given the severity of the situation it is remarkable that no fatalities have been reported.

Reservoir Levels

Reservoir levels are extremely high, in particular the Tavera-Bao, where controlled releases have been carried out, according to local media.

The country’s Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidráulicos (INDRHI) reported on 15 November that levels of 9 reservoirs were approaching or above maximum, with some showing signs of rising further.

Reservoir levels in the Dominican Republic, 14 November 2016. Image:
Reservoir levels in the Dominican Republic, 14 November 2016. Image: INDRHI

25 Days of Weather Warnings

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) says that “Since Hurricane Matthew, the country has had 25 consecutive days of meteorological alerts.”

As of 15 November, a red alert (highest level) remained in place for Duarte province as a result of the overflowing Yuna river. Nine other provinces were under yellow (mid) level alerts, including Samaná, Monseñor Nouel, Puerto Plata, Valverde, Espaillat, María Trinidad Sánchez, La Vega, Santiago and Monte Cristi.

“Meteorological Environment Loaded with Humidity and Instability”

The country’s Oficina Nacional de Meteorología (ONAMET) said in a statement of 11 November that weather conditions in the Dominican Republic have been affected by two troughs over the Caribbean Sea which have maintained “a meteorological environment loaded with humidity and instability” producing showers, thunderstorms and strong wind.

Rainfall figures according to ONAMET for 24 hours to 14 November, 2016.

  • Aerop. La Union – 78.2 mm
  • La Isabela – Puerto Plata – 75.5 mm
  • Bonao- 68.6 mm
  • Monte Cristi – 65.0 mm
  • Juma-Bonao- 51.9 mm

Over 60 cm of Rain in 10 Days

The recent heavy rainfall comes on the back of days of almost constant rain. The director of ONAMET told local newspaper Diario Libre that Luperón, Puerto Plata, had recorded 639 mm of rain in 10 days to 14 November. Gaspar Hernández and Altamira, recorded 438 mm and 364 mm respectively, during the same period.

Between 11 and 12 November areas in the north of the country recorded upwards of 70 mm of rain, with some areas seeing more than 200 mm. Gaspar Hernandez in Espaillat province recorded 223.5 mm in 24 hours.

Map of rainfall in Dominican Republic, 11 to 12 November 2016. Image>
Map of rainfall in Dominican Republic, 11 to 12 November 2016. Image ONAMET

Earlier this month, several areas recorded over 100 mm of rain in 24 hours, between 07 and 08 November:

  • Luperón, Puerto Plata – 214.1 mm
  • Aeropuerto la Union – 180.3 mm
  • Gaspar Hernandez (Espaillat) – 149.9 mm
  • Cabrera – 119.8 mm

Social Media

Crecida de río provoca inundaciones en #Guananico de #PuertoPlata @elnuevodiariord

A video posted by PoliticandoRD Sin Censura (@politicandord) on

Flood Summary

Last updated: November 16, 2016
Event
Dominican Republic, November 2016
Date
November 7, 2016
Type
Inland flood, Landslide, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Villa Riva, Duarte Province
B - Province of Santiago
C - Luperón
D - Guananico
E - Cabrera

Magnitude

Rainfall level
214.1 mm in 24 hours
Luperón, Puerto Plata - November 7 to November 8, 2016
Rainfall level
180.3 mm in 24 hours
Aeropuerto la Union - November 7 to November 8, 2016
Cabrera – 119.8 mm
Rainfall level
149.9 mm in 24 hours
Gaspar Hernandez, Espaillat - November 7 to November 8, 2016
Rainfall level
119.8 mm in 24 hours
Cabrera - November 7 to November 8, 2016

Damages

Evacuated
20,000
November 7 to November 10, 2016
Buildings destroyed
23 buildings
November 7 to November 10, 2016

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