Santo Domingo — The number of deaths in the Dominican Republic rose to 21 on Sunday due to heavy rains and flooding generated by a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean, emergency authorities reported.
Nine of the victims were recorded when a wall of a tunnel collapsed on an avenue in the Dominican capital, crushing several vehicles on Saturday night. Six of those killed in this accident were foreigners, four Puerto Ricans and two Haitians, indicated a list from the Emergency Operations Center (COE) sent to journalists.
“We recovered about nine bodies (four women and five men) in that area,” Delfin Rodriguez, deputy director of Civil Defense Operations, told The Associated Press.
The rains that have affected the national territory of the Caribbean nation since Friday caused heavy flooding in sectors of the capital, such as in Villas Colinas de Manoguayabo, where another four people died when they were swept away in their vehicles by the water currents, according to the COE. .
Three other victims were reported on a highway in Manoguayabo as a result of the floods.
In the eastern province of Altagracia, a woman also died after being swept away in her car by the waters of a stream. A young woman died when a wall of a house fell on her in another sector of the capital. The other victims also occurred as a result of the floods.
“So far we have 30 provinces on alert, of which 14 are in red (the maximum level),” said Rodriguez, from the Civil Defense.
Dominican President Luis Abinader declared three days of national mourning for the fatalities recorded by the atmospheric phenomenon.
“Three days of official mourning are declared throughout the territory of the Dominican Republic as of the date of this decree and corresponding, therefore, to November 20, 21 and 22 of this year, on the occasion of the fatalities resulting from of the passage of the recent atmospheric phenomenon through the country,” indicates the decree issued by the Dominican president.
During the days of mourning, the national flag will fly at half-mast in military compounds and public buildings throughout the Dominican Republic.
On Sunday morning, after a new emergency meeting of the government and various meteorological and relief services, Abinader described these rains as “the event with the highest river precipitation ever recorded in the country,” which he attributed to the effects of climate change.
The authorities reported that they were working on updating the figures and searching for the missing.
So far, at least 1,583 homes have been affected by the floods, 7,915 people displaced to safer areas and 1.3 million users of the national energy system are without service due to the downpours, according to authorities.