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Dominican Storms 'Leave 130 Dead'
Tuesday, May 25 2004 @ 05:29 PM MSD
|More than 130 people have died after torrential rains swept across the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. |
At least 80 people were killed in the Dominican Republic when two rivers broke their banks in the small town of Jimani on the border with Haiti.
Fifty-eight people were reported killed in flooding in Haiti, AFP news agency reported.
Meteorologists predict the heavy rains will continue throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.
Torrential rain has been falling for more than two weeks on the Dominican Republic, swelling rivers and saturating the land.
A member of parliament for the area of Jimani, Atila Perez, said 200 homes were flooded and whole families were swept away when the town's river burst its banks.
Mr Perez said that all that was left of the homes in the worst affected neighbourhood were pieces of timber and clothing embedded in the mud.
A makeshift morgue has been set up at the town hospital.
More than 100 people are being treated in nearby hospitals.
Dominican President Hipolito Mejia has sent emergency teams to the area.
Air force and army teams have been searching for survivors in atrocious conditions but were forced to stop when darkness fell.
The director of the country's Civil Defence department told Reuters rescue workers would resume searching for survivors at daybreak on Tuesday.
Some 450 homes were flooded across the nation, National Emergency Commission (NEC) chief Radhames Lora Salcedo was quoted as saying by AP news agency.
North-western areas have been most badly hit by the rains, which cut off some roads and led to power cuts in at least 14 towns.
Extensive damage to crops and livestock has been reported.
Thousands who fled the bursting rivers were staying with friends and relatives or at shelters set up in churches.
In the neighbouring US territory of Puerto Rico, at least one man was missing and some 100 people had to flee their houses because of flooding, officials told AP.