Haiti and Dominican Republic – 11 Dead as Tropical Storm Laura Causes Severe Damage

Strong winds of up to 85 km/h and heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Laura have caused severe damage in Haiti and Dominican Republic, with at least 11 fatalities reported.

Volunteers from Dominican Republic Red Cross carry out evacuations after floods from Tropical Storm Laura, August 2020. Photo: Dominican Republic Red Cross

Some areas of the Dominican Republic recorded almost 300mm of rain in 24 hours to 22 August. Several rivers broke their banks. Some of the worst of the flooding was reported in the provinces of Santo Domingo and Distrito Nacional (Greater Santo Domingo).

Rainfall in Dominican Republic on 22 August 2020, brought by Tropical Storm Laura. Image: ONAMET

Four fatalities were reported as a result of either flood or wind damage. Around 1,000 people have evacuated their homes. Power and fresh water supply to more than 100,000 people was interrupted.

In the neighbouring country of Haiti, authorities reported 5 fatalities in Sud-Est and Ouest departments. Later 2 further fatalities were reported.

President Jovenel Moïse said in a statement:

“I share the sorrow of the families whose loved ones were killed on August 23 when Tropical Storm Laura passed through the country. I urge the population to respect the instructions of the authorities to protect themselves from the damage that these bad weather could cause.”

Civil Protection urged residents near the Artibonite River to evacuate their homes after flood gates of the Peligre Dam were opened.

Earlier, the storm brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to parts of Puerto Rico, leaving about 200,000 homes and businesses without power on 22 August.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Laura is likely to strengthen as it moves along the southern coast of Cuba on 24 August before going into the southern Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in the USA on 26 August.

Track of Tropical Storm Laura, August 2020. Image: National Hurricane Center


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