Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Members of the civil defense rescue a woman trapped in floodwaters caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Laura in Azua, Dominican Republic, Aug. 23, 2020. (CNS photo/Ricardo Rojas, Reuters)

CLEVELAND (CNS) — Officials reported that at least 12 people had died as Tropical Storm Laura lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic with strong winds and torrential rains, causing widespread flooding in low-lying communities.

The dead included at least nine in Haiti, according to the country’s civil protection agency. Three others died in the Dominican Republic, authorities there said.

Laura also lashed Puerto Rico Aug. 22, knocking out power to 100,000 customers. The island territory of the United States continues to recover from a devastating hurricane in 2017. The storm had moved over Cuba’s southern coast by Aug. 24.

Father Enrique Comacho, executive director of Caritas Puerto Rico, which is affiliated with Catholic Charities USA, said he was checking with parishes in southern and eastern areas of the island, which were the most seriously affected by Laura, to assess how best to respond.

Reports of damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola were sporadic Aug. 24. The most serious damage in Haiti was centered in the country’s Southeast and West departments and in the agricultural area in Artibonite department.

Christopher Bessey, country representative in Haiti for Catholic Relief Services, said the agency was working with local partners and Haiti’s civil protection authority to assess damage and determine where aid was most needed.

Flooding in some areas posed the most serious challenges, he said.

“I think the country came through the storm fairly well. It was definitely worse than we were hoping and worse than we were anticipating. We thought the storm would stay a little further north, but it stayed right on the island,” Bessey told Catholic News Service.

CRS and local partner agencies were expecting to implement an emergency food distribution plan funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development in the most seriously affected communities, especially those where crops where washed away, he said.

“CRS staff is working with the local partners and the government to look at what the level of damage is and if it requires a response and making sure resources are available from the appropriate sources,” Bessey said.

Haiti already was facing long-standing political instability with periodic protests against the regime of President Jovenel Moise. The political challenges have been compounded by a growing economic emergency as the Haitian gourde has lost value against the American dollar, making prices for necessities more expensive.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an overnight curfew in the country in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Moise said Aug. 23 that in addition to the deaths in his country at least two people were missing. In a tweet he offered words of condolence to the families who lost members in the storm.

“I urge the population to respect the instructions of the authorities to protect themselves from the damage that this bad weather could cause,” he said.

Power also was knocked out across a wide area of the Dominican Republic.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center projected that Laura would strengthen into a hurricane as it moved into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It was expected to make landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border Aug. 27.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Marco was nearing the same region of the Gulf Coast Aug. 24. Tropical storm warnings were issued for a small portion of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Marco, which had reached hurricane level Aug. 23, was expected to continue weakening as it moved westward toward the Texas coast.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

St. Adalbert’s/O.L.B.S. was the first Black Catholic parish in Cleveland, and we drove eight hours from New York City to Fairfax to make a short documentary on their history and rootedness. That was “the plan.”
Kevin JacksonJanuary 20, 2022
Pope Francis caused a Category 5 brouhaha on Jan. 6 during what was an otherwise thoroughly ordinary general audience at the Vatican.
Matt Malone, S.J.January 20, 2022
(iStock/Spiderplay)
A campus minister at Notre Dame has a message for gay students: We can challenge one another without thinking that disagreement is moral failure, bigotry or hatred.
William Dailey, C.S.C.January 20, 2022
Today, in any given year, Taizé attracts tens of thousands of young people from around the world, who travel as pilgrims to this hilltop in France to meet one another, to sing and pray and to discuss what they feel are the most urgent issues of their time, from the climate emergency to refugees.
Stephanie SaldañaJanuary 20, 2022