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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Dominican Republic: Are you affected?
The death toll has continued to rise in Haiti and the Dominican Republic with at least 860 bodies found following Monday's floods.

However, it is feared that with many people missing and some towns not yet reached, the toll could increase by many hundreds.

Emergency workers are rushing to bury the dead in mass graves for fear of an outbreak of disease and troops from the multinational force in Haiti are helping with relief work.

The floods came following two weeks of persistent rain which saturated the ground on the mountainous island of Hispaniola which is divided between the two countries.

Are you in the affected area? Send us your experiences of the flooding using the form below.


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

I live in the Dominican section of NYC and the grief here is everywhere. As I type this my next door neighbour and his friends are weeping loudly in his living room. Usually during the day the sidewalks are full of Dominicans playing dominoes and chatting with friends and family. The sidewalks are empty and you can hear people crying behind the windows as you pass by. It is so, so tragic. These people are so financially strapped to begin with. This just adds to their difficult life. They all have family back on the Island they send money to every month. We should all say a prayer for them and all of the Haitian families who are suffering right now. I am the only Anglo in the entire neighbourhood.
Anna V. Carroll, New York, New York USA

The thoughts of everyone in the British Virgin Islands are with our neighbours in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is a tragedy that the weekend storms caused so much death and destruction. Hopefully the Caribbean Governments can help in some way.
Dawn, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

I noticed on world news last night that this tragedy was 5th or 6th down the line in terms of headlines. Surely, this should be at the forefront of people's consciences? Natural disasters involving the annihilation of whole families and communities must take precedence over politics etc
Ad, Australia

The proportion of flooding in the Dominican Republic is heart-rending. The long term economic effect is formidable.
Kira, Florida, USA

There are bound to be more disasters like the one in Jimani because there is no control or advance information or planning as to where poor people can put up their shacks. The good land is owned by someone and defended from encroachment. So the poor follow the line of least resistance and they settle on high risk areas such as dried up river beds, denuded hill sides and flood plains.
Nicholas Houghton, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I have not been directly affected. However, my family lives mainly in the capital, Santo Domingo and also in Montecristi province. The latter may become the next disaster because the Yaque River is beginning to overflow. It is a great tragedy for a poor country, specially when it is taken into account that whatever surplus the economy is able to generate is squandered by the politicians in power. No money whatsoever has been invested in the infrastructure of the country for more than a decade.
Aristides Garcia, Amsterdam, Holland

The local community is rallying around
Ashley Bishop, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
This has been one of the worst natural disasters since the hurricane Georges in 1998. The local community is rallying around to get bedding, clothes, food, water etc to the people affected, and even businesses are pledging their help. What upsets me the most is the fact that no one has really heard anything from the Dominican Government - how it plans to do to help the affected.
Ashley Bishop, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

I am from the Caribbean and it hurts me to see so much death and destruction in towns and villages. I just heard that Trinidad is not so immune to the hurricane season which is coming very soon. I pray for all the victims and their families and hope that governments take drastic action to prevent this from ever happening again.
Chris, Trinidad

The worst thing to know is that the civil defence and firefighters in the area tried to evacuate people during that night. They were screaming for everyone to go out to a safer place, but none-one followed the rescuers' orders. This is something very common here as people don't want to leave their houses thinking that someone will take the few things they have.
Francisco Javier Diaz, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Being a geographer I can see the irony of people complaining about their homes being flooded, when a lot of the time its their homes causing the flooding. Concrete causes surface-run off, so the more we build, the quicker the water runs into the rivers, and the less the rivers can handle the water. If we stopped cutting down trees and concreting over things, the water would be stored in the ground for a while, and would run into the river slowly: through-flow.
Neil Maudhub, Maidstone, Kent

Neil - wise words on responsible development; but that wasn't an issue here. People are developing the wrong locations and there is a lack of warning for these types of events. As usual it is the people who can least help themselves that have been hit the hardest.
Jonathan H, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic




SEE ALSO:
Toll mounts after Caribbean flood
27 May 04  |  Americas


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