"Three days of official mourning are declared throughout the territory of the Dominican Republic (...) on the occasion of the deaths resulting from the recent atmospheric phenomenon in the country," a presidential decree announced on Monday. The announcement follows torrential rains that have fallen on the Dominican Republic in recent days, killing 24 people.
Some 17,000 people have been evacuated from areas at risk, according to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and 31 of the Caribbean country's 32 provinces remain on alert. The death toll now stands at 24, up from 21 on Sunday night, including four US nationals and four Haitians, according to a new WCC toll that could rise further. Nine people were killed on Saturday night when a large wall collapsed on vehicles on one of the main thoroughfares of Santo Domingo, the capital.
Rains attributed by president to climate change
Schools are closed until Wednesday to assess the extent of the damage to schools and "ensure the safety" of students.
President Luis Abinader blamed the torrential rains on climate change. "Those who don't believe in climate change need to start believing in it," Abinader said on Sunday, citing "widespread and substantial" damage, but did not give figures. The rains have led to power cuts and drinking water in some areas.
At the end of August, Hurricane Franklin hit the Dominican Republic killing two people and missing one and some 3,000 people were evacuated.