[IMG: Hurricane Georges making landfall on the Dominican Republic September 22, 1998; Credit: Dennis Chesters, Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, Craig Mayhew, and Hal Pierce, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Caribbean Hurricane Page

Updates from the Islands
Georges - Dominican Republic

If you are looking for family/friends in the Dominican Republic, you can post your plea for help on the Hispaniola Lost & Found Bulletin Board. For people who have been in contact with the Dominican Republic, or live on the Dominican Republic, please, also take a look at this Bulletin Board and try to see if you can help out these sometimes desparate people...

The most recent updates can be found on another page.

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 14:55:24 -0400
From: Consuelo Polonio (Consuelo@compassny.com)
Subject: Hato Mayor del Rey - Dominican Republic

To Hato Mayor and Friends:

We will be having a meeting to coordinate efforts for the relief of the
victims of huracan George's, a video will be shown of Hato Mayor after
Huracan Georges (you may bring food, clothing, medicine, etc.) They will
be kept at this location.

Hato Mayor Y Amigos
155 Fort George Ave. (corner of 193rd st/St.Nicholas Ave.) - Train #1 to
190th St./exit on St.Nicholas Ave.
Manhattan, NY 10040
Tel:  212-544-0256 (Thomas/Tito/Monsy)
Time: 8:00 Pm

General Information on Hato Mayor:
I have been speaking almost every single day with my parents who live in
Hato Mayor del Rey.  They have a very strong home and were able to
provide a place for about 35 people to stay over during the huracan.  My
mother had informed me that she had been cooking for all these people as
well, but she had been very happy to do so.    On Tuesday the day when
George's was having  its impact in Hato Mayor, I spoke to my parents who
informed me that every 15mnts there was an update on radio as well as on
T.V. on what was going on and the exact location of George's, so that we
do agree with those who state that people were well informed.  We
believe most didn't believe that it would be this big.

The town has suffered,  most of the wooden houses were wholy or
partially destroyed including those that had the zinc rooftop.  Most
trees were taken out from the roots or they are with no leaves and
therefore, without any fruits (Agriculture has suffered greatly).  There
is no electricity or running water and food is scarce.  Up to now there
has been no casualty reported.  Rivers and canals did overflow.  The
bridge connecting Hato Mayor with El Seibo called: "El Oasis"  was swept
away.  Telephone cables and wires are lying on the streets or on houses.
People are now in the midst of re-constructing their destroyed homes,
but wood, zinc, nails, carpenters and most of all resources are scarce.
Although president Leonel Fernandez has indicated a freeze in prices,
all materials are being sold at a higher price than they used to be,
this includes labor.  For example, one sheet of zinc is currently at
pesos 70.00, the wood which is needed to support the sheets of zinc is
selling at pesos 140.00 for a piece that is about 15 ft., then you still
need nails, cement, sand, labor cost etc.  Pls do remenber that average
monthly income is about pesos 2,000.00 to 3,000.00 for the working

We do need to provide help to our towns. Calling our love ones is great,
but pls. reach into your pockets and sent something to those in need, it
does make a difference.  People always worry if what is given will reach
its destination;  but if for every $10.00 given $5.00 or $6.00 reach its
destination, then you have done your part.

Thanks to all those concerned.......
Consuelo Polonio

By the way: The meeting will be held on Friday October 2, 1998 at 8:00 PM -Gert

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 11:02:46 -0400 From: Ann Hoff-Fanaian (d.fenaian@codetel.net.do) Subject: Updates UPDATES FROM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Tuesday, September 29, 1998 One week since Hurricane Georges came through our country and it is still pouting, though now at the strength of a tropical storm, on mainland United States. Dominicans have shown a strength of character in confronting this ordeal which has gone from facing the disaster to achieving the goal of bringing their lives back on track, rebuilding their homes, their businesses, and their lives. Tourism spots in the north never ceased to function and now hotels are open in Punta Cana where activities are restoring to normal. Casa de Campo, the worst hit resort in the country, is scheduled to open by October eight, as its President informed yesterday. People in La Romana, after confronting their losses and working to restore what they have, are some now getting depressed due to the lack of jobs and sources of income for some, and coming to the realization of the reality that they confronted one of the worst hurricanes to hit the caribbean islands in many decades. CAPSULES--- The Forestry General Management in the country has decided to take advantage of the rubble of trees and trunks left behind by Hurricane Georges. Forestry, as it is commonly called here, has been extremely protective of trees and forests in the country during the last few years and anyone cutting down trees in their yard or farm could be sentenced to prison time. Now, in order to use the fallen trees it has placed portable saw mills in many places in the capital city, Santo Domingo. This wood will be given to those in need for a house or shelter over their heads. ARMED FORCES WORKING HARD.-- The Dominican Armed Forces and the Air Force have been working hard in many devastated areas of the country. The Air Force has 'dumped' relief, food, and medicines to areas which cannot be accessed by land and where people are suffering greatly due to the lack of food and potable water. Aid has been delivered in this way in areas north of the city of Santo Domingo (Monte Plata and surrounding communities), and in San Juan and Barahona Provinces. JARABACOA- Nothing much has been said about Jarabacoa, a rich and prosperous community of the country located on the northern part of the Central Mountain range, just west of La Vega. They are not receiving much aid yet, even though the strong winds and flooding of the Yaque del Norte river has left them stranded and incommunicated by land. PRICE CONTROL-- Many businesses have been closed and their owners sent to prison in different localities of the country because they are overpricing their products, mainly drinking water, wood, zinc sheets, food, ice, and many other types of food and building products. The President, Dr. Leonel Fernandez, froze prices of basic products last week, in order to avoid this type of activity. However, there are complaints that not all businesses can be controlled or investigated, since authorities have to concentrate on facing the disaster. THE NEEDY ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE DELIVERY OF AID. People are complaining that aid is not being delivered. As an example, La Cienaga, a neighboorhood in the capital city, lost 1,200 houses. However, only materials for three hundred is being offered. On the other hand, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez has denounced an aid shipment sent by the Archdiocese of New York for victims of the hurricane was delivered incomplete. The Armed Forces Minister, Almirante Ruben Paulino Alvarado, assured yesterday all humanitarian aid received by the country is being delivered to the victims and explained the distributrion of food, water, and medicine is done in function of their needs due to the high demand of assistance needed at this time. AID, BUT FROM DOMINICANS THEMSELVES--- This weekend there was a television and radio marathon dedicated to collecting aid for victims of hurricane George. People of all ages and backgrounds arrived to deliver aid on foot, in fancy cars, or on motorcycles. If they did not have anything to offer, they gave what they had, work force. This week a similar radio broadcasted marathon will be carried out in Santiago, in the norther area of the country. Many dominicans have been delivering clothes, food supplies and other types of materials to these efforts. One interesting case is that of people of Corral Grande, in the Province of Dajabon. Even though they don't have much at all, they collected dishes, clothing and some money and delivered it the local radio station in Dajabon for victims of Hurricane Georges in San Juan de la Maguana. TOURISM IS ALIVE AND WELL AND WORKING! Sammy Sosa did not hit another Home Run but his team is to head into the Play offs!!! Regards, Ann Hoff-Fanaian Santiago, Dominican Republic
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 08:19:47 -0400 From: Isabel Marchese (imarchese@navierasbr.com) Subject: Dominican Republic 29/9/98 Hi my name is Katia Pouliot, I'm Canadian but I've been living in the Dominican Republic for 2 years now. People never expected Georges here. People here have a saying that hurricanes hit here only every 20 years so until it left Puerto Rico, people weren't that worried. Now they're trying to blame the president because he didn't tell them it was coming. If people would have paid attention to the television and the radio, I'm sure they all would have been a lot more ready. Some people actually went to work on Tuesday morning and then had to fight their way home in the rain and wind. Although many WERE ready, I don't think anyone actually expected it to be that hard. During the hurricane, I spent the whole day in my house taping plastic bags over the windows to try and keep the rain out but at 2:30pm when George REALLY hit Santo Domingo, nothing could keep that rain out. The owner of the house lives on top of my house and used to have a zinc roof. She doesn't live there anymore. Her roof went flying off in the beginning of the storm around 12:30 and landed 3 houses down the street. At 5pm I went up to get her things out since many people were robbing all they could find. All through the storm people were walking around the streets, women carrying children to send them to a safer house, guys running around robbing electric wires (mine included) and zinc sheets. I don't think the people actually believed the hurricane would actually hit until it was upon us. I know the Dominicans are the kind of people that need to see to believe, and that probably caused many deaths. Now, many sectors have electricity, but no water yet. I know for a fact that at least in Ensanche Isabelita and around there, there was a lot of damage but no deaths as far as I know. Many of the poor sectors now have electricity although it's not constant. Bottled water is still hard to find and everyone has to be very careful with the food they buy because it might not be good anymore. People are working hard to clean up the streets so that no one gets sick from it but up to now in my sector, the government has not been there to help clean up which means that only people with trucks are taking away the garbage. Amazingly enough, the Malecon looks almost the same as before. The Las Americas highway is slowely being cleaned up and it's getting easier to get from one point to the next. To go to the other side of the country, Loma de Cabrera and Dajabon came out of it pretty well. Many of the wooden houses there are still standing and the crops are in pretty good shape! Puerto Plata also seems to have come out pretty also. But poor San Juan de la Maguana. It was horrible to see on television so many people trapped and people finding bodies all over the place. I know that many people are looking into what happened there. For all the ones who still haven't had any news from their loved ones, stay positive and keep trying to contact them. If they have a Tricom phone (starting with 231), don't be too worried since half the time they're not working. Also many lines fell down so in some cases comunications are still a bit hard. Thanks to all the people who are helping out and sending stuff down. I know many people down here appreciate it a lot! Katia Pouliot, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Taken from: http://www.hispaniola.com/Cabarete/index.html. Whatever you may think of it :-) -Gert Special Report: Cabarete was not affected by Hurricane Georges Although Hurricane Georges was devastating for a large part of the island, Cabarete (or the North Coast region between Puerto Plata and San Juan) was unaffected. We had strong winds but they weren't even strong enough to blow the leaves from the trees. Waves weren't doing anything either - the beach is intact, just as it was before the hurricane. During the strongest winds, parents with their children were taking a stroll on the beach. We didn't even get a lot of rain, just a few drops. "It would have been a great day to windsurf - up to force 8 - if we were allowed to go out, but there was a nationwide ban on all kinds of water- sports." said Stefan Reuther from Cabarete Video Production. A few people actually went out to windsurf during the hurricane. One of those was Markus Böhm of Cabarete Sail and Board Repair. "Hey man, how could I not go out there, these were the best wind and wave conditions we had for years. It was just amazing out there, although I did have quite a bit of problems with the police afterwards. I told them that if you live to windsurf you just had to go." International press reports, and so the general belief in America and Europe is, that the Dominican Republic as a whole is now destroyed, but this is simple not true. THE PUERTO PLATA REGION WAS NOT AFFECTED. It would be very sad if people stopped coming here because of this false belief. Everything is as it was before the hurricane - nothing happened here. Gerd, a longtime resident of Cabarete explains: "The fact is that the Puerto Plata region, including Cabarete, has never been seriously affected by a hurricane as long as such things are recorded. Even in 1933, when the island was hit by a horrible hurricane, the most destructive up to now, the Puerto Plata region was as good as unaffected, however nobody ever mentions that. I have traveled throughout the Caribbean and have seen what hurricanes can do. I'm seriously afraid of them. I've gone through a lot of research to find the safest place in the Caribbean, and that's why I decided to establish myself in Cabarete. There is not one single place in the Caribbean that is safer than this region. I was absolutely positive that Cabarete would not get hit by Georges even if a day before it came to the island everything pointed to such a scenario; and I'm absolutely certain that Cabarete will never get hit by a hurricane in the future. There would have to be an interaction of a few extremely unlikely circumstances that could in fact bring destruction of a hurricane into this part of Hispaniola. In my believe, this is a chance in a million. You can rest assured, chances that your airplane crashes is far higher than experiencing a hurricane in Cabarete." It seems like Mother Nature made a deal with Cabarete... ...and so Mother Nature said: "O.K., so you don't want any hurricanes here. That's fine, however, in exchange I'll blow wind on you almost every day of the year for the rest of your existence." And, Cabarete said: " No problem dude, that's fine with me." ...and we have been windsurfing ever since. Julius at Hispaniola.com (September 24, 1998)
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 13:42:34 -0300 From: Danny Stone (danny.stone@codetel.net.do) Subject: Monday 28 Update Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Monday, September 28, 1998 Greetings to all of you. We know some of you receiving this update are being hit by Georges, and we can truthfully say that we know what you are going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.   We had a busy weekend, but some good progress has been made in getting a relief project up and running. A non-profit humanitarian aid society called Life Link has set up an account for receiving donations for relief in the DR. The president of Life Link, Dr. Carl Conley, has personally handled this for us. All donations to Life Link are tax deductible and 100% of all donations will be forwarded to the DR. If you would like to make a financial donation please make out your check to Life Link and send it to: Life Link / Dominican Republic P.O. Box 701884 Tulsa, OK 74170-1884 Be sure that you signify Dominican Republic on the envelope and in the memo line on your check since Life Link has projects for many different countries. If you need to speak with someone to obtain further information you can call 918-492-4544 or Fax 918-492-6140.  Dr. Carl Conley has also made this e-mail address available if you want to contact him in that way: TLLpres@aol.com .   Life Link also has pallets of canned food and other items they are willing to donate to the relief effort if we can find a way to transport them. We have contacted two sources that have cargo planes to see if they would be willing to assist in the material aspect of the relief. If you know anyone who works in or has access to this type of air transport, please speak with them.   Two urgent needs here are bottled drinking water and food. If we can find air transport we will need donations of water, food, medicine, and clothing suitable for the tropical climate here. 100,000 people lost their homes, but thousands of others lost all their clothing and household goods when the roofs blew off their houses. A man who works a shift here at the reception desk in our building told us yesterday that the roof blew off the home where he, his mother, and other family members live and that all their clothes, bedding, and most of their furniture was ruined.   A friend drove us around the city yesterday and what we saw was heartbreaking. For those of you that might know the city we will mention names. In the Gazcue section the streets were lined on both sides will tree limbs in pile 4 feet high block after block. It was like walls on both sides of the street. Every building has damage; broken windows, smashed doors, walls fallen over, awnings ripped off and laying in parking lots and streets, other canvas ownings hanging in shreds off of the sides of buildings, radio towers down, metal signs bent and destroyed, huge frames for billboard signs crumpled, and huge trees pulled up by the roots. Olympic park at Maximo Gomez and 27 de Febrero is destroyed. Every tree, literally every tree is damaged. Most are down, and the ones left standing are bare like a winter scene. As part of a renovation project to attract the next Pan American games a new fence had been built around the property and it is destroyed in many places. The domed building that houses the basketball arena had just had a new roof installed that was guaranteed hurricane proof - the roof is destroyed. It cost millions of dollars and several months to install.   The park Mirador south which is very popular for walking, running, skating, and biking is also destroyed. The park had beautiful trees of many different varietys and they are broken, uprooted, and stipped of their vegetation. Many of the kiosks in the park are also damaged. The only thing left is the cement picnic shelters. Most of them withstood the 120 mph winds.    It was very upsetting to see damage everywhere we drove. We only saw a small part of what Georges has done to this city and this country. Santo Domingo is a huge city with a population of 3 million people and it covers a large territory. The cement structures withstood the storm well, but we did see some block walls and steel reinforced utility poles that were bent or broken in the storm. The homes and businesses with metal roofs for the most part had no roof when the storm was over. And of course the wooden homes were flattened. Some of the poor who had cement homes lived in low lying areas or near the rivers and their homes were flooded. Even a large prison here, La Victoria, was flooded so bad that they had to put the prisoners on the roof of the building to keep them from drowning.   Well, this had gotten rather lengthy so we need to close. Thank you for your notes of encouragement and offers to help. Now there is a way to do the financial, and we hope soon there will be a way to do the material.   Danny, Denise and Jessica Stone     THE LIVING STONES     1 Peter 2:2-5
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 13:39:03 -0700 From: Elizabeth Pristow (e2001@ufl.edu) Subject: relief for Dominican Republic The Diocese of Orlando has had a partnership with the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana for many years now and it pains all of us who have been involved with that area to hear of the devastation. We have been organizing relief efforts and need all the support that we can get. If you would like to help or want more information contact Awilda, Sister Bernadette or Sister CJ at: Mission Office c/o Diocese of Orlando 421 East Robinson Street Orlando FL, 32801 (407) 246-4890 fax (407)246-4942 If anyone lives in the Gainesville (FL) area we will be having a collection for aid at St Augustine's Church on University Ave. across from UF from 3:30 to 7:30 Sept. 28 to Sept 30. Thank you. May God bless each of you. Monika Lugo mlugo@ufl.edu Other disasterfunds and help committees have been mentioned earlier by other people below as well. -Gert
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 09:07:52 -0400 From: Jean M. Casasnovas (sadomo.garantia@codetel.net.do) Hello again The hurricane didn't took me away ! The results in general are cathastropic more than 600,000 people are homeless The Agriculture losts are around 80 % of total production as per news papers The losts in life are yet to determine, including a critical situation in a small town that belongs to the district of San Juan de la Maguana where there is a hidraulic press the little town under was erased from the map and according to what the people says there was around 400 persons there. On tourism which may call the attention to many on the cyberspace it's a little bit confusing, since the eastern areas where hit direct from George all the visitors where moved to other areas such as Santo Domingo city, North coast resorts etc. Even my person has received from the net requests to look for missing or imposible to contact persons and its been really difficult, The comunication to the eastern side of the Isaln is still impossible since all the comunication equipments (antennas and receptors ) are damaged yet. After the Hurricane passed by Santo Domingo all the Streets were blocked, since it's (was) a city full of threes everywhere, I could not drive more than 1 1/2 block from my house; electricity as gone in all affected areas and rarely in the city the comunications was never lost. Every body is collaborating with this; we are receiving International support from several countries including assistance to manage the dissaster, everybody is cleaning its yards and sorrounding of their houses, up to date almost 90 % of the streets are available to drive, good porcent of the trash has been removed and many areas of the city has electricity right now. On the eastern towns is where the problems are big; San Pedro de Macoris, LA Romana, Higuey, El Seybo, Hato Mayor are destruyed, on this places normally people build their houses on wood and the roof made on Cinc sheets, almost all of this houses flyed away. I drove all the way up to San Pedro (50 miles to the east of Santo Domingo) and could appreciate part of the damages. The goverment, I think, is doing a very good work, all the militarys are helping to clean the city, helping to establishing communications between affected towns, helping the refugees to organize. Our worry right now are the people living under refugees, chances of getting certain virus and promote them are high. they are taking some preventive actions but this is difficult to control without propper places to hold so many people. Up to now this is all. I am trying to make contact with certain institutions here in order to know what their needs are, and see how I can create a group from the net in order to get help with the needs, any Ideas on how to do this or help to organize this are pretty welcome Wih regards. Jean V. Casasnovas
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 12:00:53 -0700 From: Nadine Roth (rothn@rpi.edu) Subject: Dominican Republic Here is a little on Juan Dolio. The electricity in that area is not expected to come back for another 2-3 MONTHS! The phones are expected to come back in less than a week. Cellular phones are working, however, the reception is weak. My father has to stand on the roof on a two story house in order to call me. Essentially, Juan Dolio is barren. There are no leaves on any trees. The beach can be seen for the roads. My father said that people who live in cement building suffered minimal damage. Roofs made of tin were torn off. As expected there are absolutely no tourists in the area. San Pedro de Macoris suffered severe damage. 75% of it is gone. Nadine Roth
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 11:35:01 -0400 From: Ann Hoff-Fanaian (d.fenaian@codetel.net.do) Subject: Re: from Dominican Republic- still REPORTS ON LA ROMANA----September 26, 1998. 11;28 A.m. Dear Gert and all. My husband just got back from visiting La Romana. Where to start? Well, my parents are ok. The house lost the roof and a wall of the living room and probably will have to tear all that down due to lack of security. the rest of the house is concrete. They have an english and computer school and people are dropping in asking when classes start. That means people's spirits are high and they are working hard to getting their lives back on track. However, debris and branches are everywhere. Though people individually are fixing their properties, authorities are not picking up the garbage. Their only source of information are newspapers. There is no electricity, running water nor phones. Phones most likely will be up by the end of this month (hopefully) so people cannont phone out nor email out. Casa de Campo is closed, they don't let people access it, though many villas were spared there, the Hotel is not in good shape. The Industrial Free Zone, a great financial and job source in La Romana, is not as bad as it sounded in the first reports, though damages are considerable and a lot of machinery and raw materials was lost. Many, many houses are down in the center of town as well as in the surrounding neighboorhoods. No lives were lost due to winds nor flooding. The Central Park is in bad shape, it lost all its folliage and the Cine Colon (Colon Movie Theater) is gone, though some of it is being re-constructed. Many warehouses, supermarkets and big businesses had great losses. The Polideportivo (Basket Ball Court) is completely without a roof.... I hope this helps. Regards,Ann Hoff-Fanaian, from Santiago for the World :)

Earlier reports have been moved to this page.

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