Floods reported in south-west and north
Even when the center of Hurricane Irene did not touch the national territory, the effects of the storm have been felt all over the country, causing heavy rains with gusts of wind and thunder and lightning.
As a result, 12 596persons have been displaced and 25 communities isolated.
Yesterday afternoon rains were reported together with wind gusts in the provinces of Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Duarte, Samana, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Altagracia, Arroyo Barril, La Vega, Monsignor Nouel, Sanchez Ramirez, Monte Plata and other places.
Classes were suspended in public and private schools and several government offices were also closed yesterday.
The relief agencies have activated their contingency plans and the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) is maintaining its RED and Yellow alerts for all of the provinces.
The Nizao and Yubazo rivers in the southwestern province of San Cristóbal burst their banks this morning, sweeping away dozens of houses in the Jeringa and Las Flores neighborhoods.
The Nizao River also destroyed a bridge, cutting off several neighborhoods in the area.So far no one has been reported missing, but many families have lost their homes and possessions.
In the central region, wind gusts, heavy rain and floods caused by Hurricane Irene brought down electrical poles and tree branches, caused landslides on some roads and affected a number of homes, according to the emergency services.
In the north, Civil Defense deputy director Francisco Arias said that a tree fell down in Puerto Plata as a result of the winds, and several posts fell down in Santiago, mainly in the Cienfuegos and Los Reyes areas. He said that rescue teams were inspecting vulnerable areas in Santiago and other provinces in the Central Cibao region, because rivers, streams and canals could flood as a result of the heavy rains that were still falling yesterday.
The agency is maintaining its storm warnings for the area between Point Palenque and Cape Engaño, and hurricane warnings from Cape Engaño to the Bay of Manzanillo.
They also warned the residents in the low-laying coastal areas of the North and the Northeast, such as Nagua, Rio San Juan and Cabrera to take precautions for possible coastal flooding. They have observed 12 to 15 foot waves in the coast near Sanchez, in Samana province.
According to the COE, 1,025 persons were displaced yesterday. Of this number there were 60 persons in La Romana, 84 persons in San Pedro de Macoris, 25 persons in Sanchez Ramirez and another 205 persons in Maria Trinidad Sanchez being taken care of in public shelters. There are 651 persons in homes of friends and family.
The COE director, General Juan Manuel Mendez Garcia, said that these numbers might change because last night the evacuations were continuing. He noted that in Puerto Plata some 70 families were evacuated. He reported, moreover, that the communities of Sabana de la Mar and Hato Mayor, in the province of El Seibo, have been cut off by the overflow of the Yabo River.
In the meantime, he reiterated the alerts for the whole country, maintaining the yellow alert for the provinces of Monsignor Nouel, La Vega, Santiago, Elias Piña, Dajabon, Pedernales, Hermanas Mirabal, and Santiago Rodriguez. The rest of the country is under a RED alert.