Dominican Republic faces a national disaster after Tropical Storm Noel

Published: 5 November 2007

Lack of access and reduced local capacity are hindering the arrival of aid for most of the population affected by Tropical Storm Noel in the Dominican Republic. Some 100 communities remain isolated by resulting floods, and unable to get aid through.

"We are facing a national disaster. Almost 80 per cent of the territory has not received any aid yet. Most of the communities affected by Noel have no assistance. There is an access problem and lack of local capacities as the disaster is overwhelming. In spite of national efforts and the solidarity of many local groups it is evident that more aid is needed," explained Gloria García, Oxfam International's emergency coordinator.

This week Oxfam International started distributing its first emergency aid to communities displaced by the Tropical Storm in the Distrito Nacional slums, the province of Santo Domingo, in the south western region (Barahona, Tamayo, Vicente Noble), where the biggest temporary shelter has been established, around Cristobal, the border with Haiti and the community of El Cacao, in San Cristobal province.

Oxfam's response will reach 4,500 displaced families (18,000 people) through the distribution of water tanks, hygiene kits, kitchenware, mattresses, water filters, emergency latrines and sheltering materials for families living in temporary accommodation. Oxfam is also assessing further needs in other communities to increase its response to the emergency.

Situation may get worse

The Dominican Republic National Office of Meteorology forecasted further rains in the coming days. This could worsen the situation in the areas affected, especially in the communities that remain isolated.

According to official figures, more than 65,000 people have been displaced and 84 people died due to the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Noel. Heavy rains have been falling for a full week, seriously damaging crops for exportation and domestic consumption. Some basic foods are already in short supply and prices are rising. In response to the situation, Oxfam International is coordinating with FAO and the Dominican government to elaborate a food security plan.

Tropical Storm Noel reached the Dominican Republic one week ago causing extensive damage in 29 of the 32 provinces in the country. In response to the scale of the disaster, the President of the Republic has declared a state of emergency for 30 days, in order to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Contact Information

For more information please contact:
Carmen Rodríguez (Barcelona), + 34 91 204 67 20 / + 34 615 359 401
crodriguez@intermonoxfam.org
Silvio Minier (Santo Domingo), +1 809 330 3655
sminier@intermonoxfam.org
Jennifer Abrahamson (NYC), +1 212 687 2150, mob: +1 202 321 7858, jennifer.abrahamson@oxfaminternational.org