Tuesday, September 22, 1998 Published at 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
Hurricane Georges hits Haiti
Soldiers patrol Santo Domingo in the wake of the hurricane
Hurricane Georges, which has already claimed at least 12 lives, has struck Haiti.
Winds of more than 100mph battered the island's northern coast, ripping off roofs and forcing residents to flee to higher ground.
Georges' trail of destruction through the Caribbean could take it to the Florida Keys by Friday.
The storm caused serious damage in Puerto Rico, knocking out electricity and water supplies
A radio reporter in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, said many of the poorer areas on the outskirts of the city had sustained serious damage.
The US authorities in the Florida Keys island chain are standing by to evacuate people.
Dominican President Leonel Fernandez urged residents to head to safe areas.
"It is imperative that those who are in danger go to the designated refuges, stay calm and pay attention to the news bulletins which will be broadcast by radio and television stations," he said.
Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 95km (60 miles), and tropical storm-force winds up to 280km (175 miles).
US President Bill Clinton has declared Puerto Rico and the nearby US Virgin Islands disaster areas and authorised federal funds to help the clear-up efforts.