Floods Hit Dominican Republic and Haiti After 216 Mm of Rain in 24 Hours

Heavy rain affected the northern part of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola between 09 and 11 February 2016, resulting in flooding in parts of both Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Dominican Republic

After a long period of intense drought, Puerto Plata Province on the northern coast of Dominican Republic saw 216 mm of rain in 24 hours in Puerto Plata station, between 10 and 11 February 2016.

According to local media, the San Marcos River and the Camú River overflowed, causing flooding in the municipalities of Puerto Plata, Montellano and Villa Isabela. Several houses are reported to be affected by local inundations in La Sabana, Las Cruces de Martín Alonso, Tasajera, Estrecho Abajo, El Estrecho, Ranchito de los Vargas communities.

The country’s Operational Centre for Emergencies (Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias – COE) declared, on 11 February, an alert for possible flash-floods and landslides in the Puerto Plata, Montecristi, Dajabon, Santiago Rodríguez and Valverde Provinces.

As many as 15,000 people were evacuated after severe floods struck in the Dominican Republic in February 2015.

Haiti

The northern coast of Haiti has also been affected by heavy and prolonged rainfall which occurred between 9 to 11 February 2016.

According to local news the Civil Defence declared red alert (highest level) in North Haiti for possible flooding and landslide caused by the rain.

Major cities including Port-de-Paix and Cap-Haïtien have been affected by the severe weather and more than 200 houses have been damaged, forcing families to leave their home. Several neighbourhoods of Cap-Haïtien, including Carénage, Cité Lescot, Sainte Philomène and Charrier, suffered flooding on the 11 February.

Flooding blocked roads and caused traffic problems. The heavy rain also caused a mudslide which blocked the main road in the district of Bel-Air, according to local media.

Cap-Haïtien, the second biggest city of Haiti, is known to be vulnerable to hydrological and hydro-geological problems, with recurrent events causing significant damages. The area suffered major flooding at almost exactly the same time last year. The situations is exacerbated by unplanned urbanization.

With wide areas of standing water, contaminated flood water and streets littered with waste and garbage, focus has turned to health concerns. Haiti public health authorities have called for people to be aware of the threat of the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases, and to take necessary preventative measures in flood-affected areas of Cap-Haïtien and Port-de-Paix.

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