Out-of-season storms becoming a pattern as climate change alters the weather
Tropical Storm Olga deluged the Dominican Republic and Haiti yesterday (12 December), causing extensive flooding. The storm, which occurred out of season, caught the two Caribbean countries by surprise.
Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second largest city, is completely flooded. At the border, Lake Azueï has flooded roads and paths, blocking access between the two countries.
ActionAid has not yet registered any dead, but says it is difficult to assess damage, as the island is still experiencing heavy rains. Teams will be sent at daybreak to conduct a comprehensive assessment and define responses.
Jean Louis Lambeau, ActionAid’s Latin America security and emergencies advisor said: “Recent Caribbean weather incidents, such as October’s Tropical Storm Noel and now Tropical Storm Olga, are occurring outside the usual hurricane season and this is becoming a pattern.
“Relief organisations must now prepare for the unpredictable. Climate change in particular should be part of every situation analysis, strategic programming and vulnerability analysis.”
Following Tropical Storm Noel, ActionAid launched disaster projects that continue to give support to youth and women’s groups in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. Interventions include psychological support and the distribution of cash grants.
In the Dominican Republic ActionAid is working in 42 communities affected by the earlier storm. The project includes the provision of water and health services in the districts of San Cristobal Peravia, San Pedro de Macoris, and Santo Domingo.