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Dominican Republic: Authorities Assess Damage From Tropical Storm Franklin

Authorities in the Dominican Republic are fanning out across the Caribbean country to evaluate the damage Tropical Storm Franklin inflicted on crops and homes after causing heavy flooding that killed at least one person.

More than 670 homes were affected by the storm, according to preliminary government figures, and 24 communities were cut off by heavy rains.

Crews helped more than 3,300 people move to higher ground ahead of the storm, and another 352 residents sought safety in government shelters.

Among them was Domingo Ogando Figuereo, who took shelter in a communal centre in the city of San Cristobal with his wife and three children.

“We hope everything turns out well,” he said as he asked authorities to prevent water from the Yubaso River near his home from backing up.

The request was echoed by Santa Rosario Rodriguez, a homemaker who went to a shelter with her two daughters when the Nigua River by her house started to swell. “When it fills up with water, it has nowhere to go,” she said.

A man takes a photo as waves crash on a seawall in the Dominican Republic

The storm left hundreds of thousands of people without power and more than 1.6 million others without water after knocking 120 aqueducts out of service.

The country’s civil defence agency said a man identified as Carlos Marino Martinez died in San Cristobal after being swept away by floodwaters.

The agency initially said he was one of its volunteers, but later corrected the information, saying it misidentified a uniform he was wearing. Authorities did not provide further details. Two women in that city also were injured following a landslide, officials said.

By Thursday, schools, businesses and government agencies were reopened as the tropical storm spun northeast of the country.

As of Thursday morning, Franklin was about 85km (53 miles) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometres per hour (50 miles per hour) and was moving north across open waters.

Franklin is expected to strengthen into a hurricane over the next few days, but poses no threat to land.

It is the seventh named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. An eighth named storm, Gert, dissipated on Tuesday.

On August 10, the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its forecast and warned that this year’s hurricane season would be more severe than normal.

Between 14 to 21 named storms are forecast. Of those, six to 11 could become hurricanes, with two to five of them possibly becoming major hurricanes, the agency said.