SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic – Flooding caused by weeks of heavy rain in the northern Dominican Republic has caused at least five deaths and forced thousands from their homes, authorities said Monday.
The latest fatalities are two minors swept away by floodwaters on Sunday.
More than 42,000 people were driven from their homes, though all but around 8,000 have since been able to return, the Emergency Operations Center said.
Some 100 homes have been destroyed and 40 communities remain cut-off by the flooding, the center said.
In the northern city of Santiago, displaced residents of the affected areas told EFE that the disaster left them with nothing.
Most of the evacuees in Santiago province are staying with family, friends or neighbors, according to regional emergency services chief Francisco Arias, who said the government is providing aim to victims.
But Carmen Rodriguez, Santo Morillo and Roberto Jimenez told EFE that while the government has delivered food and water, the needs of people who have lost everything go far beyond sustenance.
Rosa Tineo recounted how the floodwaters entered her family’s home as she, her husband and their two young children were sleeping.
“We fell into the river, we nearly drowned. But people rescued us. It was something horrible,” she said.
People who lost their homes should not be allowed to rebuild in vulnerable spots, Francisco Arias told EFE.