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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
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

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£25000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?