Relief Efforts Under Way in Caribbean

Flood Death Toll Nears 870, But the Worst May Come

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, MAY 27, 2004 ( The national Caritas is giving emergency humanitarian aid to thousands of people affected by the floods that have devastated the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti.

U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS), meanwhile, reported that flooding caused by torrential rains has left more than 20,000 people in need of assistance.

The death toll stood at nearly 870, and officials feared another 1,000 people were lost in the border town of Mapou.

Caritas volunteers are distributing first-aid materials to those affected from two storage points in the town of Jimani, the area hardest hit by the floods.

Caritas sources told ZENIT that the emergency aid consists primarily of clothes, food, mattresses, sheets and mosquito nets. Caritas is also sending medicines directly to the Hospital of Jimani.

The aid is being distributed house by house, and to provisional residences for those left homeless. «There is no centralized distribution of this aid to avoid possible situations of chaos produced by eventual crowding,» a Caritas representative reported.

CRS responded with the immediate provision of $20,000 in private emergency funds for the purchase of locally available relief items. «The needs right now are great,» said Andrew Rosauer, CRS country representative for the Dominican Republic.

CRS is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Donations can be sent to:

Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090

Or call 1-877-HELPCRS. The memo line of donation checks should be marked «DR/Haiti flood relief.»

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