For three weeks, torrential rain has devastated several northern provinces in the Dominican Republic. The heavy rainfall comes weeks after Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the Dominican Republic and Haiti – before the country could recover from one natural disaster. The downpour caused river banks to burst, causing severe flooding. The storm has displaced more than 30,000 people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of crops and property, according to El Universo. At least five have died.
With President Danilo Medina declaring a state of emergency last week, Dominicans living in the United States have sprung into action. In New York City, a committee established an emergency committee – organized by the New York Dominican Officers Organization and backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials – to raise money and supplies for those who most need it back in DR.
“The flooding affects the provinces of Espaillat, La Vega, Duarte, María Trinidad Sánchez, Santiago, Puerto Plata, which have been devastated,” Dominican consul Carlos Castillo told El Nuevo Diario. “It’s still impossible to quantify, but there have been innumerable damages. Nothing like this had ever happened in the Dominican Republic, because it rained nonstop for 18 days and the ground is now extremely saturated. All the excellent infrastructure in that area has collapsed, and I think it’s time as Dominicans, those who live in the United States, to join forces to help our country.”
And in the past few days that’s exactly what they’ve done. Donation centers set up across NYC and New Jersey collected rain gear, diapers, canned goods, stoves, beds, bed sheets, blankets, clothing, shoes, helmets, flashlights, tools, chairs, and more. Dominican Congressman Adriano Espaillat believes that this week, the donations will fill at least two trucks.
Taking a small break for Thanksgiving, the drive will resume this weekend through Tuesday of next week, according to Haile Rivera – Castillo’s assistant. Unlike the first weekend, United Palace won’t serve as a center this go around. Instead, it’ll now take place at 109 Dyckman St.
The rest of the locations will remain the same.
For those who don’t live in NYC or can’t make it out to one of these centers, you can also help by donating money online. Donate here.