Hundreds feared dead in Caribbean floods

Around 100 people died when floods unleashed by torrential rains swept through a small farming town in the Dominican Republic, officials said.

National Emergency Commission Director Radhames Lora Salcedo said some 150 or more people were still missing, feared dead.

Rains drenched the agricultural town of Jimani early yesterday, forcing the Solie River to burst its banks. Only debris-filled mud and scattered clothes remained where dozens of houses once stood.

As relatives sloshed through mud and searched for loved ones, workers dug bodies out from the mud. Some cadavers lay along the main road.

People wandered streets littered with fallen trees and power cables. Ambulances queued to pick up the dead.

Officials were using the electrical generator room of the town hospital as a morgue because the actual morgue was destroyed by floodwaters. Rescue teams kept arriving with more bodies.

"They found my daughter. Now I have to see if I have some family left," said Elena Diaz, 42, sobbing in a long line outside the morgue where she went to look for her son-in-law and three grandchildren.

She said her daughter's house was swept away by the river, which tore through the neighbourhood in the western town near the Caribbean country's border with Haiti. Few houses were left. Many were destroyed or swept away.

Farmer Jose Altagracia Perez said he was in his house at around 3am local time yesterday when the water began to rise, leaving little time for action.

"The house is all gone. The river came and took everything. Now I don't have anything," said the 60-year-old, waiting in line outside the morgue and looking for his three-year-old son.

The raging water carried victims away, and bodies were found up to six miles downstream, said Maximo Noves Espinal, a rescue worker.

"We're recovering bodies. We'll be at it all night," he said.

At sea, a Guyanese-registered freighter sank off the north coast of the Dominican Republic early yesterday, leaving one man dead, officials said. The Dominican Navy said the crew attributed the sinking to rough weather and a heavy load of cement blocks aboard the 160ft Family Island Express.

Ofilio Perez of Nicaragua was found dead in the water. Four of the ship's crew were rescued, officials said.

On land, the weather struck most fiercely in Jimani, a Dominican town surrounded by sugar cane fields just east of the border with Haiti and around 110 miles) west of the capital, Santo Domingo.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean country, 30-year-old Nelson de Jesus and 31-year-old Cristian Ramos were caught in an overflowing river late Sunday and died in northern San Francisco de Macoris, officials said.

Another man, 27-year-old Delervin Castro, was fishing off the coast Sunday in northern Sanchez when he was swept away by strong currents, officials said.

At least 450 homes were flooded throughout the country and at least 14 small towns had power outages and toppled phone lines, Lora Salcedo said.

In the neighbouring US territory of Puerto Rico, searchers found the body of 24-year-old Miguel Valle Ortiz, who had disappeared Sunday after he fell off a small boat when it tipped over in a flooded lagoon, officials said. A friend who was with him escaped to safety.

Some areas of Puerto Rico saw up to 8ins of rain over the weekend, according to the US National Weather Service.

Heavy rains persisted through the day in some areas, leaving small towns and roads flooded in the western Dominican Republic.

The rains also drenched parts of Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. To the east in Antigua and Barbuda, thousands of students stayed home yesterday as classes were cancelled.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project