At least 21 dead in torrential Dominican Republic rains
SANTO DOMINGO, Nov 20, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - At least 21 people, including three children, died after heavy rainfall inundated the Dominican Republic over the weekend, authorities said Sunday.
Torrential storms over the past 48 hours have caused flooding, damaged infrastructure and brought down houses in the Caribbean nation, in what President Luis Abinader has called the "largest rainfall event ever" in the country's history.
The rains, from a tropical depression, are expected to continue across portions of the country for the next 24 hours, the US embassy said in a weather alert.
In one particularly deadly incident, a wall collapsed Sunday onto several vehicles traveling on a major avenue in the capital, Santo Domingo, killing nine.
The water "infiltrated a saturated subsoil," and the foundation of the concrete wall gave way, the Ministry of Public Works said Sunday.
An investigation into the incident has been ordered by the ministry.
Nine other people died in separate instances in Santo Domingo on the same day.
Some 13,000 people have been evacuated across the country, according to the Emergency Operations Center, and a majority of the nation's 32 provinces are under an alert designation.
Classes have been suspended until Wednesday, Abinader said, "in order to evaluate the schools that may have been affected" and "guarantee the safety of our young people."
Four of the dead are US nationals, and three are from neighboring Haiti.