Update on Flooding in the DR from Hurricane Irene

Written by Plant With Purpose on August 29, 2011 in General

Last week, Hurricane Irene brought heavy rains and winds to the Caribbean, causing flooding in some areas of the Dominican Republic. Most of the damage in our program was concentrated in the province of San Cristobal, an area southwest of the capital, Santo Domingo. All the bridges in San Cristobal collapsed and as of last Thursday there was no way to access the communities on the other side. We are still waiting to hear from our Floresta-Dominican Republic staff to see if they were able to get through.

Overall there was a lot of damage to bridges, homes, farms, and the electric grid. Sadly, we received reports that three homes were lost in the community of La Represa and three people were missing, one of which swam after a drowning cow. The Haina River overflowed into most of the community and some homes and the school collapsed due to their proximity to the flooded river in Aguacero. Electricity was also lost.

Farmers in the community of Loma Verde lost cocoa trees and some people close to the river lost their homes.

Farmers in the community of Hormigo also lost cocoa trees, as well as cows, horses, and all their bridges.

Although there is some very substantial damage, we are grateful that the destruction was not worse. This is, in part, a testimony to the good work that Floresta-Dominican Republic has been doing for so many years. In 2004, a deforested hillside washed away during a flood and wiped out an entire community called Jimaní. Plant With Purpose works to prevent similar deadly mudslides from occurring by reforesting hillsides, constructing soil conservation barriers, and restoring watersheds.

Our Program Director, Armando Osorio, was in the Dominican Republic last week and said that the Dominican Center for Emergency Operations, which brings together most government ministries and the armed forces, is responding well to the emergency. They had helicopters rescuing people and delivering food to those that needed it.

Armando also said, “The sun is out today (last Thursday) and the waters are receding. Neighbors are helping each other. Even in the midst of the rains yesterday, Dominicans were outside getting wet and having fun.”

Please pray for our staff as they continue to assess damages and mobilize to meet the greatest needs to support communities and families. And keep Haiti and the Dominican Republic in your prayers, especially as more storms continue to form in the Caribbean and the Atlantic. We heard from our Haiti Program Director, Guy Paraison, and thankfully he said, “Thanks to God that the areas where Floresta-Haiti is working are safe!”

This bridge, which leads to the communities of La Rosa, La Represa, El Aguacero, Loma Verde, and La Joya did not collapse, but the water has overflowed, making it impossible for our truck to pass. We are waiting to hear from our in-country staff to see if they were able to get through over the weekend.

Leave a Reply