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Caribbean: Noel Aid Efforts Continue on Island of Hispaniola

Eleven of 14 World Vision project areas in the Dominican Republic are on red alert; meanwhile, several project areas in Haiti sustained damages, but all children and families are accounted for.

Updated November 13, 2007

Please note: If a sponsored child is directly affected by a crisis or disaster, it is World Vision's policy to notify that child's sponsor as soon as possible.

Residents wade through floodwater on Oct. 31 in the neighborhood of Capotillo after four days of heavy rains in the Dominican Republic's capital city of Santo Domingo. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
Tropical Storm Noel, also known as Hurricane Noel, may now be a distant memory for most. But not for residents of Hispaniola — the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic — who have endured the storm's heaviest damages.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic

In Haiti, where overflowing rivers flooded many parts of the country, World Vision staff reports all children and families in our program areas are accounted for. Agricultural, livestock, and housing damages were sustained, particularly in the southern and western regions of the country, but comprehensive assessments have been hindered due to severely damaged roads.

In the Gouin program area of southern Haiti, supported by World Vision donors in the United States, and the Mika program area, supported by our donors in Taiwan, more than 220 houses sustained damages.

On the island of Gonāve, west of Haiti's capital of Port au Prince, 50 families were evacuated in the La Palma program area, supported by World Vision donors in Australia, and more than 600 homes were damaged because of heavy winds. Significant agricultural losses on the island deepen ongoing food shortage concerns.

In the meantime, Noel affected at least 10 of 14 World Vision program areas in the Dominican Republic. Some 153 communities remain cut off from relief assistance due to flooded roads and infrastructure. Of the more than 14,720 children and their families we assist in these areas, more than 4,200 require flood aid. Agricultural losses alone are estimated at 95 percent in these regions.

"Many of our staff live in the communities where they serve and have been affected as well," says Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S. "Please pray for strength as they serve those most in need."

Our Dominican Republic staff is coordinating with the country's civil defense as well as local community leaders to distribute relief supplies to flood survivors that include food kits containing rice, water, beans, vegetable oil, canned sardines, milk, spaghetti, and canned meat. Cooking sets and personal hygiene kits with such items as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, toilet paper, and feminine products also are being distributed, as well as foam mattresses, sheets, and mosquito nets to those most in need.

Affected Program Areas in the Dominican Republic

In the Ezequiel program area, supported by World Vision's U.S. donors, the Yaque del Sur River overflowed its banks to flood the entire community. Houses here either have sustained water damages or been destroyed; families initially sought refuge beside roads at higher elevations. Latrines have overflowed, and contaminated water continues to create the imminent threat of disease outbreaks.

World Vision has supplied 1,000 families in this area with food kits; an additional 930 low-income families have received food aid as well as blankets and hygiene kits.

Floodwaters initially were at rooftop levels in several communities in the southwest Dominican Republic's Tesoro program area, supported by U.S. donors. Plantain crops are completely destroyed, and cattle also are affected. Though flooding forced more than 2,000 here to take refuge in a nearby stadium, many now are returning home.

Last weekend, 300 low-income families returned to their flood-damaged homes to begin the arduous recovery process in the Tesoro program area's Bahoruco province. They received welcome relief supplies that included food, water, personal hygiene kits, cooking sets, sheets, and mattresses.

Community leaders and local volunteers helped World Vision to organize and distribute the supplies, which were provided through a U.S. Agency for International Development grant.

Dominican Republic Storm Facts (Updated Nov. 8)

  • National government authorities report 85 dead, 48 missing, and 74,500 people displaced.
  • Reconstruction projects are well underway to repair flooded and damaged roads, highways, bridges, and other infrastructure, but these efforts will take some time before complete access is available to scores of flooded communities that remain cut off.
  • The government reports agricultural and livestock losses of $23 million.
  • Telephone service has been restored in the capital city; however, some 60 percent of Santo Domingo residents still have no clean drinking water.
  • Debris has been cleared from streets in major cities, and cleaning efforts are underway in rural areas.

Flooding of the Panzo River and its tributaries has inundated the homes and crops of families living in the Adonai and Apolinar Perdomo program areas, which also are supported by World Vision donors in the United States. Fishing has been affected, and entire families have sought refuge in the nearby homes of relatives and friends.

Flooding of the Ozama River has affected three additional World Vision program areas in and around the capital city of Santo Domingo, including Palmera, supported by U.S. donors; Pino, supported by donors in Switzerland; and Caoba, supported by donors in Taiwan. Torrential rains have destroyed whole neighborhoods; subsequent flooding has destroyed a number of sugarcane fields just outside the metro area. World Vision emergency staff has distributed more than 1,020 food, bedding, and hygiene kits to families in these areas.

Children walk in a street after flashfloods and mudslides hit outside of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Oct. 30.
Children walk in a street after flashfloods and mudslides hit outside of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Oct. 30. REUTERS / Kena Betancur / Courtesy of

Additionally, flooding of the Haina and Buey Rivers has affected the World Vision program areas of Villa Altagracia Sur, supported by our donors in Canada; and Villa Altagracia Norte, supported by donors in Taiwan. A number of homes in this region have been destroyed, and livestock killed, as a result of the flooding. More than 600 people who initially sought temporary refuge in area schools and churches have received cooking sets as well as bedroom and hygiene kits.

Flooding of the Yaque del Sur River has caused flood damages in Tamayo and neighboring communities, including the municipal districts of Uvilla and Los Jobos. Here, waters have risen to the rooftops of some homes and buildings located in the Conuquito program area, whose development projects are supported by World Vision donors in Germany.

Communities in this area no longer are isolated; however, a number of domestic animals have drowned, and more than 90 percent of local plantain and tomato crops are destroyed. World Vision has distributed food kits, blankets, and hygiene kits to 700 affected families in this hard-hit region.

World Vision staff across the Dominican Republic and Haiti will continue to monitor the effects of Tropical Storm Noel, provide regular updates, and distribute aid to affected children and families who need it most.

Learn More

>> Read a Reuters account of Noel's damaging effects on its journey up the North American Atlantic coast.
>> Read about what World Vision in New York City is doing to assist Noel storm survivors.

Two Ways You Can Help

>> Pray for those in remote communities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti affected by Tropical Storm Noel, and for aid groups, including World Vision, working tirelessly to meet the needs of survivors.
>> Donate now to rush emergency supplies to desperate families and children affected by widespread flooding in the Caribbean.

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