Dominican Republic rains kill at least 21, displace thousands

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) -Dominican Republic authorities on Sunday said at least 21 people have died after heavy rains the day before that have displaced thousands of residents.

Over 13,000 people in the Caribbean country had to move to more secure areas after torrential rains flooded homes, caused power outages and damaged bridges and parts of roads, the Emergency Operations Center (COE) said in a report on Sunday afternoon.

A total of 21 people have lost their lives, the COE said.

The storm's victims includes nine people who died on Saturday after rains caused the wall of a highway tunnel to collapse onto their cars, the National Police said.

Videos on social media showed rushing water dragging cars down streets and flooded ground floors of buildings.

Over 2,500 had to be rescued by protection agencies, and over 2,600 homes had been impacted by the storm, the COE said.

Forty-five communities were without communication as of Sunday afternoon, according to the COE report.

(Reporting by Paul Mathiasen; Writing by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Diane Craft)