Dominican Republic: World Vision intensifies response as casualties mount in flood disaster
The worst flooding occurred between 2 and 4 am Monday morning, when a dry creek bed of the River Soleil turned into a raging river while everyone slept. The flood waters propelled uprooted trees and huge boulders through low-lying areas covered by two World Vision Area Development Projects (ADPs): ADP "Ezequiel" (US/CIP 3301) and ADP "Enriquillo" (US/CIP 4345). The destruction reached a massive scale in Jimani, where 36 sponsored children are among confirmed fatalities.
Two other ADPs -- Adonai (US/CIP 2,067) and El Tesoro (US/CIP 2512) -- are also affected by this disaster. An estimated 5000 families have been directly affected by flooding in Jimani (concentrated in the neighborhoods of La 40 and El Limon), and neighboring communities. While water levels dropped significantly today, affected communities remain in a state of red alert due to precarious health, sanitation and shelter conditions.
Local staff of WV Dominican Republic (WVDR) together with some 40 volunteers, began to feed and relocate displaced families on Monday morning while also attending to their medical needs. About 1,500 people in Jimani were aided yesterday (Wednesday) by WVDR-distributed rations of water and food, as well as clothing and diapers. In addition, WVDR staff initiated tetanus vaccinations yesterday, while also setting up four trauma assistance centres and three primary health care clinics in the flood zone, assisting hundreds of people, in coordination with the National Public Health Secretary.
Some 3,000 people have received emergency aid to date, and continuing daily aid distributions are expected to include clothing, mattresses, mosquito netting and cooking supplies to flood victims, applying criteria of vulnerability, number of children, and families of single mothers. Needs assessments are being carried out in coordination with the Municipal Emergency Committee.
World Vision has worked in the Dominican Republic for more than 15 years, establishing 15 Area Development Projects (ADPs), WVDR has more than 300 employees engaged in emergency proposals and disaster mitigation, agriculture, infrastructure, health, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, and Child Protection, among other areas. WVDR collaborates closely with Municipal Committees for Emergencies throughout the country in the development and elaboration of emergency response plans which it carries out in cooperation with the Civil Defense and various local emergency response organizations.