Torrential Rains, Flooding Leave Tens of Thousands in Need in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Catholic Relief Services
Thursday, 27 May 2004

Flooding caused by torrential rains in Haiti and the Dominican Republic has left more than 20,000 people in need of assistance, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reported today. Nearly 2,000 people have lost their lives in the wake of floods along the southwestern border between the two countries and throughout the south central portion of Haiti.

CRS responded with the immediate provision of $20,000 in private emergency funds for the purchase of locally available relief items, including food, potable water, clothing, materials for shelter and medical kits. Additionally, USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance has granted $40,000 to CRS/Haiti for emergency non-food relief distributions in the southeastern and western parts of Haiti.

"The needs right now are great, and we are working to meet them. But beyond the immediate necessities, we are looking at what the longer term needs for the people are," said Andrew Rosauer, Country Representative for the Dominican Republic. "The people most affected by this disaster were already among the most vulnerable. Our staff are conducting assessments to determine ways to replace not just lost items but lost livelihoods."

A week of rain followed by tropical storm-like weather over the weekend sent rivers and streams over their banks and destroyed infrastructure—including roads, schools and hospital clinics. Thousands of homes have been damaged, and loss of livestock is reported to be heavy. The floods came just after the planting season, inundating thousands of hectares of newly planted crops.

CRS has worked in Haiti since 1954 and in the Dominican Republic since 1961, with programming in the areas of food security, HIV/AIDS care, safety net programs, civil society, health, water and sanitation, education and agriculture.

For more information, or to contact Catholic Relief Services, see their website at: www.catholicrelief.org

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