Rains send rivers dangerously higher in Caribbean

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2011 8:25 PM
Rains send rivers dangerously higher in Caribbean

Several days of heavy rain sent rivers higher Monday across much of the Caribbean, destroying houses, setting off landslides and forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. The storm has been blamed for four deaths in the region, officials said Monday.

There were reports of severe flooding in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica from a low pressure system that lingered south of Jamaica for five days before moving west.

In provinces north of the Dominican capital, authorities evacuated more than 4,000 people, and at least a dozen homes were destroyed by floodwaters from the Licey River, said Francisco Arias, a regional civil defense official.

In neighboring Haiti, more than 200 people sought shelter after a lake on the country's border with the Dominican Republic burst its banks over the weekend, said Lesly Dorce, an official with Haiti's Civil Protection Department.

"The water seeped into my home and I was worried about my daughter," said Mecha Calixte, a 32-year-old merchant who walked to the shelter in the town of Thomazeau, where relief groups gave out bags of rice, beans and bottles of cooking oil.

There were also reports of extensive flooding in downtown Les Cayes, a city along Haiti's southwestern coast.

Emergency teams in southeastern and eastern Jamaica were trying to rescue at least 50 people trapped by rising floodwaters, and roads were blocked by high waters in at least four parishes elsewhere in the country, said Ronald Jackson, director general at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

Floods and mudslides were blamed for one death in the Dominican Republic and two in Haiti in recent days.

Jamaican police said Sunday that a fisherman drowned and another was rescued in rough water off Bob Marley Beach in St. Andrew parish.