Floods caused by Storm Emily claim lives

One person killed in Haiti and another in Dominican Republic as storm dissipates over a Haitian mountain range.

    The remnants of Emily stretched out across Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic [AFP]

    Two people have been killed in flooding triggered by Emily, the tropical storm whose remnants have moved northwest over the Caribbean.

    Officials in Haiti said on Friday that one person died in flooding in the southern city of Les Cayes. They urged people to remain on alert for more potential rain.

    A 23-year-old man died in the Dominican Republic when he fell down a sewer as he bathed in a pool of water created by the rains and resulting floods, authorities said.

    Some 7,000 people had been forced to leave their homes, with dozens of villages cut off by floodwaters and swollen rivers, Dominican Republic officials said.

    "This system remains disorganised but upper-level winds are expected to become a little more favourable for development on Saturday," the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said, giving it a "high chance" of reforming into a tropical cyclone season this year.

    Emily had a a 60 per cent chance of regenerating into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, according to officials.

    The storm had earlier broken apart over the mountains of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but its remnants continued to rain down in threatening flash floods that could cause mudslides on that island as well as its Carribean neighbours.

    Hurricane season

    Emily was the fifth named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. The governments of the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas all dropped tropical storm watches and warnings after Emily weakened.

    But the hurricane centre warned rainfall could still reach as much as 50cm in some areas.

    In an advisory late on Thursday evening, the hurricane centre also said there was a "high chance" Emily's remaining clouds and thunderstorms could redevelop into a tropical cyclone on Saturday.

    "The large area of cloudiness and showers associated with this system is forecast to move northwestward toward the Bahamas at 16-24 kph for the next couple of days," the centre said.

    Heavy rainfall is a significant threat to Haiti, which is vulnerable to flash floods and landslides because of its near-total deforestation.

    In June, at least 23 people were killed after rains unleashed flooding and mudslides.

    Occasional light rains fell on Thursday in the sprawling, mountain-cradled Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, where more than 600,000 survivors of the 2010 earthquake still live in fragile tent and tarpaulin camps.

    Haitian President Michel Martelly and civil defence officials had issued public appeals for those living in low-lying or flood-prone areas of the hilly, quake-damaged capital to move to safer areas and not wait to be evacuated.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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