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Tropical Storm Laura Kills at Least 23 People in Haiti, Dominican Republic

Published in 26 August, 2020

Tropical Storm Laura is being blamed for killing least 23 people as it battered Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico over the weekend with high winds and flooding. On Monday, the storm was moving along the southern coast of Cuba and was expected to strengthen into a hurricane. At least 20 people died in Haiti, the Associated Press reported. The AP also said three people were killed in the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s civil protection authority said on social media that the dead there included two women, two men and a 10-year-old girl. The girl was killed when a tree fell on a home in Anse-à-Pitres, which is along the southern coast on the border with the Dominican Republic. The agency said evacuations were ongoing Sunday morning. Video posted by the civil protection authority in Haiti showed a torrent of muddy water rushing under a building. At its peak, the storm knocked out power more than 1 million people without power in the Dominican Republic, where officials used megaphones to urge residents to evacuate. Tens of thousands remained without power Monday morning, but the country’s three utilities had restored service to more than 400,000. The dead included a 44-year-old woman and her 7-year-old son who died in the capital city of Santo Domingo when their home collapsed, el Commercio reported, citing information provided by the Emergency Operations Center. Flooding caused several homes to collapse in Santo Domingo. More than 1,000 people were evacuated across the country. The flooding also cut off more than 120 isolated communities, El Caribe reported. Video posted to social media showed transformers popping. Earlier, the storm brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to Puerto Rico, leaving about 200,000 homes and businesses without power Saturday night. More than 10,000 had lost water, the AP reported. The storm brought wind gusts up to 67 mph and dumped 3 to 6 inches of rain in southern and eastern Puerto Rico. River flooding trapped two people along the rapidly rising Toro Negro River in Ciales, Puerto Rico. The pair were reportedly rescued Saturday evening, El Neuvo Dia reported. That rainfall also triggered several landslides, including one that closed a road, the paper reported. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency and warned residents to stay inside.

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