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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
'Mudslides leave massive scar'
By Jeremy Cooke
BBC Dominican Republic

Driving into Jimani, it is clear that this region has suffered a major disaster.

On the outskirts of town, the overwhelming force of floodwaters and mudslides has cut a massive scar through the landscape several kilometres long, several hundred metres wide.

Scene of devastation in Jimani, Dominican Republic, after mudslides
The landscape has been transformed by the disaster
Nothing has been left in its wake - the homes which stood there are completely gone; not even a tree is still standing.

Further into town, the survivors are digging mud out of their homes, trying to salvage what possessions they can.

Search-and-rescue teams have been heading out of their compounds with sniffer dogs in an attempt to find survivors - but that already seems like something of a forlorn hope.

Jimani's morgue is already full to overflowing. Many bodies have been taken to mass graves on the outskirts of town for burial.

No let-up

The grey clouds hanging over what should be a beautiful Caribbean landscape suggest the rain is not likely to stop imminently.

And that poses a big problem for the rescuers - not only are they contending with the aftermath of mudslides but also the weather itself, which makes the rescue effort more risky and more difficult.

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