SANTO DOMINGO – Heavy rains from a tropical system turned deadly in the Dominican Republic over the weekend when urban flooding caused a highway wall to collapse.
A potential tropical cyclone brought robust moisture across Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, causing lashing rains.
Major flooding was already underway on Saturday in the capital city of Santo Domingo, prompting urban flooding rescues.
At least 20 deaths have been reported by local media and officials since Friday.
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The Dominican Republic Department of Civil Defense shared a video on social media showing a car crushed by a highway tunnel wall that collapsed during the flooding event on Saturday.
Civil Defense Executive Director Juan Salas told reporters that crews were working to free people who may have been trapped inside the vehicle.
Reuters reports bodies were later pulled out from under the debris. Nine people died when flooding trapped several vehicles on 27 de Febrero Avenue, according to the fire department.
Salas said that search and rescue teams were sent to the southwest province of Barahona in an attempt to find five missing people. A group of tourists from Spain were later located, but were in a difficult place to access and rescue technicians continued to work to rescue them, according to Salas.
According to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, local emergency operations managers issued a red alert for eight provinces and a yellow alert for 17 provinces because of heavy rainfall from the tropical system.
Heavy rain and flooding are forecast to continue through Monday for parts of the Dominican Republic, including significant and potentially life-threatening flash and urban flooding.