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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 10:11 GMT
Caribbean storm kills 20 people
Heavy skies cloud Santo Domingo, 28/10/07

At least 20 people have been killed in flooding in the Dominican Republic following torrential rains dumped by Tropical Storm Noel.

Most of the deaths were reported along the south coast, east of the capital Santo Domingo.

It is feared the death toll will rise, with another 20 reported missing.

The storm was continuing to drop heavy rain on the country and on neighbouring Haiti, as it travelled towards Cuba and the Bahamas.

By 0900 GMT, Noel's centre was very near the town of Gibara on the north coast of Cuba and some 270 miles (435km) south-east of Nassau in the Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that the storm was expected to strengthen and bring heavy rain to south-eastern Cuba and central and south-eastern Bahamas.

Power cuts

At least 10in (25cm) of rain has already fallen on the island of Hispaniola - divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti - and the rain is continuing to fall there, forcing river levels higher.


Several bridges are reported to have collapsed, cutting off communities, and early on Monday the entire power system for the Dominican Republic was temporarily knocked out.

Hundreds of people were being evacuated, amid fears of flash floods and landslides, the country's authorities said.

Great damage has already been done to crops.

At least 10 people died when a river burst its banks east of Santo Domingo in the single worst incident reported.

Reports suggested between three and five people died in another incident in San Jose de Ocoa, also to the east of the capital.

Deforested slopes

Hispaniola is particularly vulnerable to flooding because of its steep hills and because many houses are no more than shacks.

While there were not as yet any reports of fatalities from Haiti, the country often suffers worse from flooding than its neighbour because so much of it has been deforested.

The storm had been forecast to hit Haiti hardest, but it veered towards the Dominican Republic on Monday.

"I think this has taken some officials by surprise. The storm was predicted to go more toward Haiti," aid worker Holly Inuretta told the Associated Press news agency.

Floods of water cascade through Santo Domingo

Haiti flooding death toll rises
13 Oct 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Dominican Republic
13 Jul 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Haiti
19 Jul 07 |  Country profiles


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