After second deadly storm strikes Dominican Republic, UN relief agencies step in

14 December 2007

United Nations relief agencies have activated their emergency response systems in the Dominican Republic for the second time in just over a month after the country was hit this week by Tropical Storm Olga, which has killed at least 27 people as it crossed the Caribbean region.

UN agencies are working at full capacity to help the Government deal with the aftermath of the storm, with emergency technical and assessment teams deployed to the most affected areas, according to information released today by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

So far 22 people are confirmed to have died in the Dominican Republic as a result of the storm, which struck the island of Hispaniola on Tuesday and Wednesday. Two others were killed in neighbouring Haiti and three more in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, as it continued its path of destruction across the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Olga is expected to bring more rain to the countries it has already hit.

OCHA said at least 35,000 Dominicans have been internally displaced, while more than 7,500 houses have been destroyed or substantially damaged and 76 communities left isolated. But the overall impact is expected to less severe than that caused by Tropical Storm Noel, which struck at the end of October and start of November.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is calling for $4 million over the next six months so that it can provide food relief to about 55,000 Dominicans suffering from either Olga or Noel.

WFP Regional Director Pedro Medrano, speaking from the agency’s regional office in Panama, said some of the affected people had just begun to rebuild their lives after Noel when Olga arrived.

“Now they find their efforts seriously set back or literally washed away,” he said. “They need our help, as do all the other communities now affected by this destructive wave of storms.”

 

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