Caribbean – Hurricane Maria Causes Damaging Floods in Haiti and Dominican Republic

Hurricane Maria has continued on its track through the Caribbean, causing severe flooding in Dominican Republic and Haiti. Meanwhile the flood situation in Puerto Rico has caused damage to a dam which is threatening to collapse. In Dominica, clean up operations and damage assessments continue and the latest reports suggest that 90% of all houses in the country have been damaged.

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, thousands of people have been forced to evacuate as authorities warn the Guajataca Dam is on the verge of collapse of the under the weight of flooding from Hurricane Maria. The storm dumped over 960 mm of rain in Caguas on 21 September. Five other locations recorded more than 500 mm in 24 hours. Media reports claim that at least 6 people have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Flooded area in Carolina, Puerto Rico, after the path of Hurricane Maria in the island. Photo by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos

Dominica

In Dominica, the first island to be hit buy the storm, damage assessments continue and it is thought that 90% of all houses in the country were damaged in some way. There have been 15 confirmed deaths and 16 people still missing.

A road in the Roseau area, Dominica, is littered with debris, uprooted vegetation and felled poles and power lines from Hurricane Maria from 19 September 2017. Credit: Roosevelt Skerrit under CC0 1.0

Dominican Republic

Severe flooding affected parts of the Dominican Republic after Maria dumped more than 500 mm of rain in 48 hours.

As of 24 September, red alerts were still in place in 20 provinces. Almost 20,000 people have been displaced, with more than half of them staying in 200 relief camps. Around 3,700 homes have been affected and 110 houses are reported destroyed. The storm and flooding has damaged roads and bridges, and as of 24 September, 38 communities were isolated.

Hato Mayor recorded 500.8 mm of rain in 48 hours to 21 September. Several other areas recorded rainfall above 175 mm and wide areas above 100 mm.

Heavy rain was still falling on 22 September, with Punta Cana recording 80.3mm in 24 hours and San Juan de la Maguana 65.2mm. The next day, 23 September, Santo Domingo recorded 53.9 mm in 24 hours.

Rainfall levels in the Dominican Republic for 48 hour period 21 to 22 September, during Hurricane Maria. Image: ONAMET

Haiti

In neighbouring Haiti, three deaths have been confirmed as a result of Hurrican Maria. One man drowned and another two were struck by lightning.

According to European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), flooding was reported in Saint Marc in Bocozel and Grande Saline in the Artibonite Department due to rising levels of Artibonite River. Floods have also been reported in Saint Raphael in North Department.

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