Critical Alert 

Weather: Disruptions to persist in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and possibly Cuba, Puerto Rico, through August after passage of TS Laura. 
 

  • Alert Begins: 26 Aug 2020 03:55 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: TS Laura Aftermath
  • Location(s): Caribbean (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least the end of August
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, power outages

 

Summary

 

Ongoing transport and power disruptions are likely to persist through the end of August in parts of the Caribbean, especially Hispaniola, following the passage of Tropical Storm Laura Aug. 22-23. Prolonged cleanup and recovery efforts are likely in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which have been the worst-affected areas in the Caribbean. Lingering power and localized transport disruptions are possible in Cuba and Puerto Rico as recovery operations continue. As of Aug. 26, Laura has strengthened into a hurricane as it tracks northwestward in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, US.

Storm-related fatalities have risen to at least 25 in the Caribbean region, with 21 people killed in Haiti and four in the Dominican Republic. In Haiti, Ouest, Sud, and Sud-Est departments are the worst-affected. Numerous roads and bridges are reportedly damaged or destroyed throughout the country, which is likely to hinder recovery efforts over the coming days. In the Dominican Republic, at least 56 communities were reportedly cut off due to flooding and landslides. Continued disruptions to water and electricity are likely to persist, especially across the southern and eastern parts of the country, including Santo Domingo.

Elsewhere, localized transport disruptions and power outages are likely to persist in various parts of Cuba and Puerto Rico amid recovery operations. In Puerto Rico, the remaining power outages are reportedly mostly concentrated in Mayaguez, Ponce, and San Juan. Transport and business disruptions are likely to continue throughout affected areas over the coming days, including on highways, due to flooding and debris. Telecommunications networks could also be affected due to power disruptions. Recovery efforts may be hampered by storm damage to regional roads and bridges

Civil Unrest
Prolonged power outages have triggered protests in parts of the Dominican Republic; additional protests are probable, as the issues are unlikely to be resolved in the immediate term. Unrest has been reported in parts of the National District and Santo Domingo Province, where protesters have blocked roads. There is an elevated threat of violence at all protests, especially if security forces attempt to disperse protesters or enforce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) movement restrictions.

 

Advice

 

Seek updated information on road conditions before driving in affected areas; some roads could be closed for days. Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistical disruptions. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellphones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Stock up on drinking water and confirm alternative water supplies for business operations. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Avoid all protests.

 

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