A man removes mud from his furniture standing next to vehicles that were swept away by the current, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 19 November 2023. EFE/Orlando Barría

At least 14 deaths caused by the heaviest rains ever recorded in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Nov 19 (EFE).- Dominican authorities on Sunday confirmed the deaths of 14 people as a result of the rains that have drenched the country since Friday, dumping the largest amount of water ever recorded in the Caribbean nation.

Local media, however, are reporting almost twice as many deaths.

Authorities have confirmed nine victims who died Saturday night when part of the wall of a level crossing in downtown Santo Domingo collapsed onto five vehicles. None of the passengers survived the accident.

Public works personnel work on the underpass where a wall fell on 5 vehicles, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 19 November 2023. EFE/Orlando Barría

Also confirmed were the death of a woman due to a landslide in the Zurza neighborhood of the capital, the death of three people due to urban flooding, and the death of a man due to the collapse of a bridge in San José de Ocoa.

According to President Luis Abinader in a press conference, the rains, which had not stopped at the time of reporting, were “the heaviest rainfall event ever recorded” in the Dominican Republic.

Between Saturday and Sunday up to 431 millimeters of rain fell in areas of the south and southwest, as well as in the Santo Domingo metropolitan area, twice the amount recorded in a storm in November 2022 that also caused devastation, albeit of lesser severity.

So far, several measures are being taken to mitigate the effects of the disaster, such as the suspension of classes until Wednesday to evaluate the state of schools, and health facilities are also being checked, although they will not stop providing services at any time, the President explained.

Given the persistence of the weather conditions and the saturation of the ground, the Emergency Operations Center is keeping 30 provinces on alert for possible flooding of rivers, streams and creeks, as well as flash floods or urban flooding.

During the press conference, Abinader expressed his “deep sorrow for the people who died” and conveyed his condolences to the families.EFE