Tropical Storm Noel Turns Deadly in the DR

10/30/07

Tropical Storm Noel has turned deadly as it hit the Dominican Republic yesterday, killing at least 20 people, while dozens more are unaccounted for as flooding and mudslides plague the region. Heavy rains continue to deluge the Dominican Republic, forcing evacuation from many of the low-lying bateys, including communities COTN ministers to. Little change in Noel’s strength is forecast during the next 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center expects Noel to briefly become a hurricane later in the week as it approaches southeast Florida. Humanitarian organizations have already started to distribute food and water for people who are in shelters, but are worried about long-term effects as numerous communities have been destroyed, displacing thousands.

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The Latest on Efforts in the DR

Monday, Nov. 19, 9:00pm
Drew & Dana Strait, former COTN missionaries to the DR, have posted several videos of the flooding and destruction on their website:

Drew & Dana Strait’s Website

Friday, Nov. 9, 5:45pm
Earlier this week, customs finally released the two 40-ft. containers shipped to the DR this summer. They arrived in Barahona yesterday—in God’s perfect timing! The seaworthy (waterproof) containers, plus the delay in customs release protected the contents from Noel. This morning, starting at 4:00am, COTN staff emptied the two containers, which included much-needed supplies (almost 120,000 meals of emergency food, 200+ desks, 300+ desks, clothing and shoes, medical supplies, classroom furniture, teacher’s supplies, commercial kitchen appliances, and much, much more). So many people in Algodon and Los Robles, as well as two COTN staff members, who lost ALL of their possessions will be blessed. God is so good and so much in control! Continue to pray for our families in the bateyes. Much of the area still has standing water and is attracting mosquitoes. Please pray for the COTN Venture Team (a construction team from Washington state) that is arriving on Saturday to serve the families who have lost or suffered damage to their homes.

Monday, Nov. 5, 10:00pm
Algodon – Today, many families from Algodon have returned to their homes, though some homes still have water inside and everything is covered in mud. About 12+ houses in Algodon need immediate repair to their walls and roofs.

Don Bosco – Three houses were totally destroyed. 12+ houses need immediate repair of ceiling and walls, and many people need food and mattresses.

Altagracia – Three houses were totally destroyed. 12+ houses need immediate repair of ceiling and walls, and many need food and new mattresses.

Los Robles – We still have some refugees in our school in Los Robles. Only three homes were totally destroyed, but 25+ need major repair. Many lost their crops, livestock, clothing, and mattresses. Many don’t have any food and the food situation will soon be worse.

The greatest overall needs are food, water, medicine, mattresses, ceiling and wall and roof repair. Stay tuned for more information on Restoration Packs and how you can help.

Monday, Nov. 5, 4:00pm
Tropical Storm Noel is the fourteenth named storm, and turned into the fifth hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season. Noel developed on October 27 and made landfall on western Haiti on Monday October 29. It is currently the deadliest Atlantic storm/hurricane of the 2007 season.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC STATS:
To date, the official number of dead in the Dominican Republic as a result of Tropical Storm Noel (due to flooding and mudslides) is 85, with 48 still missing (none are COTN staff, families, or children). The highest death toll (30%) is in the Altagracia province. 136 communities remain cut off; 46 bridges and roads destroyed. 66,608 people have been displaced. Approximately 22,375 are in 126 government shelters. 40,000+ are fending for themselves or are in the care of humanitarian organizations. Barahona is listed among eleven provinces with a “red alert” still in place.

Sunday, Nov. 4, 4:30pm
The road into Los Robles is still very bad, but some big vehicles can penetrate. People in Los Robles have lost almost everything—belongings, animals, plantations, and their homes. Praise for the food that arrived yesterday—after four days without, many were very hungry. In Algodon, the water has decreased slightly, but most of the residents remain in the churches in Barahona. Altagracia and Don Bosco were the least affected, but still many families need to repair their ceilings and lost belongings. La Hoya, Hato Nuevo and Pescaderia (small places between Algodon and Barahona) are in terrible conditions. Please continue to pray for our staff, our children and families, and for the restoration effort.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 10:45pm
Please pray for immediate needs in the DR: cleaning supplies, soap (for hands, food, and dishes), and clean water. They are currently drinking rainwater they are able to collect. Angel is estimating costs for replacing lost roofs, which is also an immediate need. He talked to customs officials in Santo Domingo about our two 40-foot containers awaiting clearance. Praise God they were signed off yesterday afternoon and forwarded on for a final signature. Hopefully they will be released Monday or Tuesday of next week. However, several roads and bridges between Santo Domingo and Barahona have been washed away, which will make getting the containers to Barahona difficult.

Friday, Nov. 2, 8:00pm
The rains stopped for now, but more is on the way. Country Director, Angel Peña confirmed there have been no deaths, injuries, or even illness among our staff, families, and children. Pray there will not be illness-the water is contaminated with human and animal waste, dead livestock, and bacteria. Water levels are increasing slightly in Algodon and Barahona as rivers feed into the low-lying areas. A team finally went into Los Robles today delivering food supplied by the government. Los Robles is still completely flooded. Those families that completely lost their homes are staying in our school. There is much damage to homes; especially lost roofs. Most belongings are gone, including animals (cattle, pigs, and goats), but the biggest loss is the loss of crops. Our families grew crops for their livelihood and for sustenance and this will impact them heavily. Algodon has been completely evacuated-600+ people are now temporarily staying in partnering churches. Angel wanted to let us know that he has told our staff, families, and children that we (COTN) are praying for them. He said this has been an incredible encouragement to them. He asks for continued prayer for those relocated-for their loss, for their basic needs to be met, and that they will get along.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 4:00pm
Rain continues in the Dominican Republic. Los Robles is still inaccessible. Flash floods came through and destroyed many homes in both Algodon and Los Robles. The water in Algodon has gone down a little, though many homes and our schools are still halfway under water. Thankfully all our staff, families, and children are safe. They have been safely evacuated from Algodon and Los Robles and are staying with COTN staff, at our mission house, and at local partnering churches. Damages are being assessed and repair estimates are being calculated. For those of you concerned about your sponsored children, rest assured they are all safe. Praise God!

Tuesday, Oct. 30 5:30pm
COTN–DR Country Director, Angel Peña reports that all the COTN staff is actively engaged in the rescue effort. Staff members are taking displaced families into their homes and helping others settle into churches. The greatest need right now is food, wood and metal to replace lost roofs, and fuel.

Related Links

USATODAY – Dominican storm kills at least 20

CNN – Video of Tropical Storm Noel

Weather Channel – Killer Noel bashes DR

Donate to COTN’s Rescue and Restoration efforts

Tuesday morning, Oct. 30
According to COTN–DR Country Director, Angel Peña, “Algodon and Los Robles have been hit hard. Many homes are halfway under water.” We received confirmation today that our school in Algodon is completely under floodwaters. The army is evacuating those hit hardest to the National Stadium in Barahona, though the government was completely unprepared and has no provisions to care for these people. Our DR staff is joining the evacuation effort, using our bus and trucks to rescue families in Algodon, though according to Peña, “Many residents are refusing to leave their homes and possessions for fear of losing everything they own.” Currently, Los Robles is inaccessible as it is under floodwaters. “The only way in is to swim!” says Peña. “We have no idea how many people have lost their lives!”

According to spokesperson for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, “Rain is going to be the problem with Noel for a lot of folks through the Caribbean particularly the Dominican Republic, which is at the greatest threat right now.”

Dominican officials say the storm cut off power across the island and destroyed roads, bridges and other infrastructure when it hit on Monday. Scores of families lost their homes, and more than 20 people were reported missing after the storm moved through. Some non-governmental relief groups said they expect the official death toll to rise as reports arrive from remote areas. As the rains continue, byways are littered with household possessions, stalled cars, and livestock as the roadways have turned to raging rivers. Dominican residents say they were unprepared for the storm because its path shifted after initial forecasts showed it moving towards Haiti, on the western side of Hispaniola.

Humanitarian organizations and the Red Cross are currently mobilizing response teams in such areas as feeding, sheltering, health and mental health. But the worst is yet to come. As the rains continue and as news of destruction comes in, we will find out how our ministry sites and our buildings fared. Join us as we reach out to those whose lives have been destroyed.

Click here to find out more about donating to our Rescue and Restoration effort as we seek to restore our schools, buildings and the households affected.