At least 5 people have died in Haiti, over 3,000 people have been displaced in the Dominican Republic and hundreds of homes damaged in Nicaragua after a period of heavy rain across parts of Central America and the Caribbean over the last few days.
The Dominican Republic has already seen major floods during the first few days of May. By 02 May 2016, the floods had forced over 4,000 to evacuate their homes. Many were able to return home over the next two days as the flood waters receded, and by 06 May that figure had fallen to under 1,000.
However, further severe weather hit, bringing a second wave of floods from 07 May, 2016. According to the country’s emergency management agency, Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE), as of 08 May, at least 3,430 people had been displaced by the second wave of floods, although that figure has fallen slightly since then.
According to Dominican Republic National Meteorological Office (Oficina Nacional de Meteorológia, ONAMET) significant rainfall been observed since 05 May 2016, in particular the south and east coastal areas. The station of Peralta, in the south Province of Azua, recorded 208 mm of rain in 24 hours on 06 May 2016.
The heavy rain resulted in river overflows and urban flooding, including in Santo Domingo, the capital city, located on the south coast. Flooding, which blocked several roads, was also reported in the city of La Romana.
More than 675 houses have been damaged, with 11 of them destroyed by flooding Local media report that the flooding has caused major problems with local transport. At least 5 bridges have suffered damage, interrupting communication routes. As of 09 May, 6 communities remained isolated, and as many as 24 of the country’s 32 provinces were still under alert for possible further floods and inundations.
The recent severe weather also caused the sudden flood of several rivers in Haiti, especially in the Centre and Nippes Departments. Great North, Artibonite, West and Grand-Anse departments have also been affected.
Flooding in Baradère in Nippes Department sdamaged at least 215 houses. In Savanette, Centre Department, close to the border with Dominican Republic, 4 people reportedly died trying to cross flooding rivers or ravines. A further casualty was reported in Petit-Fond: a woman was dragged by the rising waters while she was trying to cross a the Artibonite River.
This is the third spate of flooding and severe weather in the country since later April. Two people died after being swept away by flood waters on 30 April, when several rivers in the Ouest and Centre Departments overflowed. A boat carrying people from Bombardopolis to Gonaives sank during the night of 30 April 2016 after severe weather, resulting in the deaths of 8 people.
Severe weather from 22 April left at least 6 people dead and 10 injured as a result of landslides and collapsing buildings. Haiti’s Civil Protection said that there were 112 affected families in Port-au-Prince, 2,500 in Cité Soleil and 1,800 in Cabaret.
The recent heavy rain has fallen on already saturated ground, increasing the likelihood of flooding. During the last three weeks, Haiti has seen the equivalent of half its yearly precipitation, even though the cyclonic season (usually from June to November) has not yet started.
In Nicaragua , heavy rain has been observed between Friday 6 and Saturday 7 May 2016, especially in the Managua region, in the south west of the country.
The torrential rains affecting western Nicaragua caused flooding and substantial damage to houses and properties in several urban and rural areas. Flooding has been reported in Managua, León, Masaya and Nueva Segovia Provinces. As many as 124 houses have been affected, with 5 of them suffering major damages. A school in El Sauce (León Department) has also been damaged. In Managua, as many as 18 neighbourhoods have been affected.