Dominican Republic – Floods Displace Thousands After 400mm of Rain in 24 Hours

Flooding has caused major problems in at least 6 provinces in the Dominican Republic after staggering amounts of rainfall over the last few days.

According to the country’s meteorological office (ONAMET), almost 400 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Barahona between 22 and 23 April, 2017. Further heavy rain has fallen since, mostly in southern areas of the country.

In their latest report of 25 April, the Emergency Operations Centre (Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias – COE) says that flooding has affected several areas in Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal, Monte Plata, Sánchez Ramírez, Duarte and Barahona provinces. Several rivers have overflowed, including the Ozama, Yuna, Cevicos, Manoguayabo and Haina.

As many as 3,429 homes have been damaged or affected by the flooding, with around 9 houses completely destroyed. Emergency services and military have rescued 153 people.

COE says that 17,145 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. Just over 300 people were being housed in official shelters in San Cristóbal (297) and Barahona (14).

The heavy rain is part of the same server weather system that has brought flooding to Jamaica and Haiti over the last few days.

This is the second major flood event in 2 months in the Dominican Republic. In March 2017 flooding in northern areas displaced around 1,7000 people.

Late last year the country suffered two devastating floods. In October Hurricane Matthew caused deaths and major damage. The following month several days of heavy rain caused flooding in northern areas once again, displacing around 20,000.

President Danilo Medina visits flood hit areas of Barahona, Dominican Republic, April 2017.
Foto: Luis Ruiz Tito/Presidencia República Dominicana
floods in Manoguayabo, Santo Domingo, April 2017. Photo: Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana
Rainfall in Dominican Republic, 22 to 23 April 2017. Image: ONAMET