Workers in the Dominican Republic spent the day trying to restore electricity and drinking water after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Franklin triggered landslides, damaged power lines and knocked out more than 90 aqueducts.
The storm’s heavy flooding also washed out crops and killed at least two people, Juan Manuel Méndez, director of the Emergency Operations Center, said. One of the deaths was a man who threw himself into the Guajimía ravine in Santo Domingo on Tuesday night. The other reportedly attempted to cross a ravine. His body was found in a ravine in the town of Hatillo, in the province of San Cristóbal.
Franklin made landfall on the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti, early Wednesday before continuing out to sea Thursday morning. While Haiti appears not to have suffered much damage, across the border the story was different.
Authorities with the Emergency Operations Center reported flooded homes, overrun rivers and landslides blocking traffic on major roadways. The capital of Santo Domingo and 18 provinces remained under alert for possible flooding Thursday, though a red alert had been lifted for all 31 provinces.
A government preliminary assessment showed that at least three homes had been destroyed and more than 680 others had damage from the heavy rains, which also cut off at least two dozen communities. There was significant damage in parts of Santo Domingo, Méndez had said.
In the Azua province in the southern region of the country, a landslide near the bridge leading to the capital made it difficult for cars to cross, the Ministry of Public Works reported. The Civil Defense agency also reported that the rains had led to the displacement of some residents either because of malfunctioning drainage or flooded homes. Nationwide, there were at least 3,390 people who had been evacuated as a preventive measure.
By afternoon, the National Institute of Drinking Water and Sewege reported that 91 aqueducts were out of service due to the storm, affecting nearly 1.3 million users. There were also nearly 30,000 people without power.
Across the border in Haiti, teams with the Office of Civil Protection were still working on assessing damage. Preliminary reports suggested that while the country had not seen the kind of deadly floods that blocked roadways in many communities in June, there was damage to crops in southern Haitian farming communities like Aquin.
A recent United Nations assessment found that nearly half of the population, 4.9 million people, are struggling to get enough food. The food shortage has been blamed on a number of factors, including the rising costs of seeds and fertilizers, imports and the spread of armed groups.
In July, the United Nations’ World Food Program announced that it was unable to feed 100,000 Haitians due to a lack of funding.