In the wake of torrential storms that have battered the Caribbean nation over the past 48 hours, President Luis Abinader declared the ongoing catastrophe the “largest rainfall event ever” in the country’s history.
The relentless downpour has resulted in widespread flooding, substantial damage to infrastructure, and the collapse of houses, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
President Abinader, addressing the nation, urged sceptics to acknowledge the reality of climate change, emphasizing the severity of the situation.
While the extent of the damages is yet to be precisely quantified, the President described them as “extensive and substantial,” reflecting the grim aftermath of the catastrophic weather event.
The source of the chaos is a tropical depression that shows no signs of relenting. The US embassy issued a weather alert, forecasting the continuation of rain across various parts of the country for the next 24 hours.
This relentless deluge has already claimed lives in a tragic incident in the capital, Santo Domingo, where a wall collapsed onto several vehicles on a central avenue, resulting in the loss of nine lives.
The Ministry of Public Works attributed the collapse to water infiltration into a saturated subsoil, causing the foundation of the concrete wall to give way.
The ministry launched a comprehensive investigation into the incident, highlighting the need to understand the structural vulnerabilities that contributed to the tragic event.
Meanwhile, nine additional casualties occurred in separate instances in Santo Domingo on the same day as floodwaters swept away individuals.
The scale of the disaster has prompted the evacuation of 13,000 people nationwide, with a majority of the country’s 32 provinces placed under alert.
In addition to the loss of life, many areas are grappling with electricity and drinking water outages, exacerbating the challenges the affected communities face.
President Abinader announced the suspension of classes until Wednesday, emphasizing the need to evaluate the safety of schools and ensure the well-being of the nation’s youth.
The crisis has also taken an international toll, with four US nationals and three individuals from neighbouring Haiti among the casualties.
This recent catastrophe follows the passage of storm Franklin at the end of August, which claimed two lives, left one person missing, and forced the evacuation of 3,000 people from hazardous areas.
The recurrence of severe weather events underscores the region’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and the urgent need for coordinated efforts to address and mitigate these challenges.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members