December 3, 2023


Torrential rainfall and severe flooding on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, killed two dozen people over the weekend, according to local authorities.

At least 21 individuals, including three children, died in the Dominican Republic after the island was pummeled by heavy rain, which flooded homes, triggered power outages and damaged roadways, Reuters reported on Sunday. The death toll includes nine people who were killed Saturday after a highway tunnel collapsed onto cars in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, reported the Miami Herald.

The Emergency Operations Center of the Dominican Republic said over 2,500 citizens had to be rescued by protection agencies during the storm, Reuters reported, and at least 45 communities were without communication outlets as of Sunday. The U.S. Embassy in the Dominican said in an announcement on X, formerly Twitter, that the storm was ignited by a tropical depression that roared into the area on Saturday.

Dozens Killed as Torrential Rainfall Pummels Caribbean
Pedestrians on Saturday watch rescuers searching for people trapped under a wall that collapsed on several vehicles after heavy rainfall in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Officials said that over two dozen people died from severe storms on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican.
FELIX LEON/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Embassy also announced that local school districts were closed Monday and Tuesday due to the weather, and its building was closed to the public Monday.

In a post to X on Sunday, Dominican President Luis Abinader said that he was stunned by the death toll from the storms.

“Deeply shocked by the loss of life due to the heavy rains,” read Abinader’s post. “We are united in solidarity with the families affected in this difficult time. We offer our unconditional support to all those affected by this emergency.”

At least four people were killed in Haiti, reported the Herald, and two others are missing after heavy downpours led to flooding across the island of Hispaniola. The Office of Civil Protection of Haiti said Monday that traffic in downtown Port-de-Paix “remains difficult” due to severe flooding, adding that “several graves” were damaged at a community cemetery in Chardonni√®res. Health officials also fear that the wet conditions could lead to a further spread of cholera, a waterborne disease that’s already plaguing Haiti.

Three other deaths occurred in southwest Haiti, where disaster officials said they witnessed two men die while trying to cross the Acul River, according to the Herald, and at least 420 homes had been damaged.

Several others were swept away by rushing floodwaters, and responding Haitian officials told the Herald, “No body has been found so far.”

As of Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said that scattered showers and thunderstorms could be expected over the central Caribbean Sea. The system had a low chance (10 percent) of forming into a tropical storm over the next week.

Newsweek reached out to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for comment Monday.