2018 National Budget is 10.3% more than that of 2017
Works to be carried out in Montecristi
Yaque del Norte River bursts banks
Flooding affects school year in many towns
The cost of disasters for the DR
Banana production under threat
Northwest and northeast aqueducts still out of service
Injured people arrive in the country from Dominca
Remittances from the US and Spain increase
Average age of government employees in the DR rises to 44 years
Haitians assault inter-town bus in El Seibo
Daughter of a Dominican, Cardi B makes #1 on Billboard Hot 100
Rains to continue on Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Dominican weightlifting team does well in Central American

2018 National Budget is 10.3% more than that of 2017
The council of ministers of the Medina administration agreed upon the 2018 National Budget during a meeting held on Monday, 25 September 2017 at the Presidential Palace. The National Budget will be RD$814.82 billion that is RD$64,479 million more than the 2017 National Budget. This includes RD$684 billion in public spending. The budget is expected to pass in congress where the ruling PLD party is majority.

Hacienda Minister Donald Guerrero said that the budget will continue major education and public health social programs and seeks to stimulate the economy with an emphasis on small business and projects with high social yield. The National Budget will be submitted no later than Friday, 29 September to the National Congress.

National Budget director Luis Reyes said that the public health sector is allocated RD$77 billion in addition to the RD$11 billion assigned to the Presidency Office of Supervisory Engineers of Public Works (OISOE) for the remodeling of public hospitals. Public education will receive RD$152 billion.

The government announced new social programs will be introduced in 2018: “Quisqueya Digna”, “Ciudad Mujer” and Programa Agroforestal.


Works to be carried out in Montecristi
Flood waters from the Yaque del Norte River are impeding traffic over the Montecristi-Dajabón road. The Medina government announced what it called a solution to the flooding after a meeting with Ministry of Public Works and National Water Resources Institute (Indrhi) officers at the Presidential Palace.

The government announced dikes would be built in Palo Verde, Castañuela and Guayubín. Bridges would be rebuilt in those locations. The area is flooded by the waters of the Yaque del Norte and Guayubin rivers. The situation was worsened by the opening of the floodgates of Tavera Dam in Santiago.

President Danilo Medina himself was able to see the situation personally when over the weekend he toured the area to see damages caused by winds and rain bands brought by Hurricane Maria.

Participating in the meeting was Defense Minister Lieutenant General Rubén Paulino Sem, Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo, and the director of the Water Resources Institute (Indrhi) Olgo Fernández. Also present at the meeting was the director of Border Development (Desarrollo Fronterizo), Miguel Alejandro (Tito) Bejarán; Montecristi senator Heinz Vieluf Cabrera; Montecristi governor Marcelo Cordero; the manager of the Agriculture Bank (Banco Agrícola) Carlos Segura Foster; Agriculture Minister Ángel Estévez; the National Budget director Luis Reyes and the National Treasurer Angel Perdomo.

The Civil Defense and Ministry of Public Works suspended on Monday, 25 September 2017, vehicle traffic on Carretera Manolo Tavárez Justo from Montecristi to Dajabón due to the flooding of the Yaque del Norte River. The waters were lapping the stretch from Las 70 to Palo Verde.

Rafael Sosa of the Association of Banana Producers, nevertheless, says that the announcement by the government of the construction of dikes in the area is but an aspirin for the disease. He said the definite solution to the flooding caused by the Yaque del Norte River is the construction of two dams. “We need a dam on Amina River and another on Guayubín River,” he said.


Yaque del Norte River bursts banks
Yesterday, Monday 25 September, 2017, the Yaque del Norte River burst its banks making the road impassable between the provinces of Montecristi and Dajabón.

Civil Defense director in Montecristi, Félix Díaz, said that more of the flooding was on the bridge on the road from Montecristi- Dajabón that crosses the Yaque as it reaches the oceanmaking it impassable for vehicles.

Members of the Dominican Army went to the bridge to stop vehicles from crossing.

They said that depending on the situation going forward they may allow heavy vehicles to cross but the crossing of light vehicles was suspended.

The increase in the level of the Yaque del Norte River also flooded hundreds of homes in the communities of Palo Verde, El Ahogado, Batey Walterio, El Higüero, Los Conucos and others.
It should be noted that following Hurricane Maria, authorities opened the floodgates of the Tavera dam as a precautionary measure.


Flooding affects school year in many towns
The Ministry of Education announced that flooding has affected 25 public schools nationwide, with 2,754 students impeded to return to classes. The affected schools are located in Duarte (San Francisco de Macorís), El Seibo, San Pedro de Macorís (Ramón Santana), La Altagracia (Higüey), Puerto Plata, San Cristóbal and Santiago. Also in Montecristi (Castañuelas, Palo Verde and Guayubín) and El Seibo (Miches), all areas affected by flooding of rivers.

The Ministry of Education reported that overall 53 schools were affected, and 209 public schools were used as shelters, housing around 11,000 people since Thursday, 21 September 2017. Still, as of Monday, 25 September, four public schools in Bajo Yuna and Montecristi were occupied by refugees from the rains brought by Hurricane Maria.


The cost of disasters for the DR
According to a study called “Financial Management and Risk Insurance for Disasters in the Dominican Republic,” the Dominican Republic could experience damages in natural disasters costing at least US$1.68 billion (2.7% of GDP) every 20 years.

In the report, which is based on historical data, the average annual cost to the country, mainly due to damage by floodwaters, is around US$420 million (0.69% del GDP).

The report analyzes that the probability of a disaster reaching US$1.68 billion or more in any one year is 5% and that in extreme cases, such as hurricanes, damages could exceed US$2 billion (3.3% of GDP).

The National Budget for this year has a fund of more than RD$594 million for natural disasters.

According to the study, the impact of Hurricane George in 1998 was around US$2.62 billion, and the storms Noel and Olga in 2007 are estimated at 1.2% of GDP and a cost US$437 million.


Banana production under threat
Rafael Sosa, the president of the Dominican Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), with a membership of 356 banana producers in Azua, Santiago, Valverde and Montecristi, says rains derived from Hurricane Maria have flooded 85,612 tareas (1 tarea = 629 sq. meters) in which 55,000 tareas resulted in damaged crops. Montecristi is the province that suffered the most losses. Sosa estimates losses caused by the hurricane at RD$1.5 billion. He said the banana and plantain producers were just recovering from the intense rains that fell in November 2016. And that Hurricane Irma had already affected 42.8% of the farms.

Sosa said that the announcement by the government of the construction of dikes in the area is but an aspirin for the disease. He said the definite solution to the flooding caused by the Yaque del Norte River is the construction of two dams. “We need a dam on Amina River and another on Guayubín River,” he said.

Banana and plantain producers in the Dominican Republic have been severely affected by the rain and winds brought by two hurricane over the space of a month. Last week Hurricane Maria caused major flooding that affected crops nationwide.

The National Confederation of Agricultural Producers of the Dominican Republic (Confenagro) had already asked the government to increase support for banana producers who were affected by Hurricane Irma.

Confenagro president Eric Rivero said that damages caused by Hurricane Maria were the second major catastrophe the industry had suffered in the space of a year. The sector was hit by devastating floods at the end of 2016, and was estimated to have caused “billions of pesos in losses”.
With exports that exceed US$300m per year, the banana sector is the backbone of the Dominican Republic’s agricultural export economy.

Rivero indicated that the floods of 2016 had affected more than 80,000 banana plants with the subsequent winds of Irma causing estimated production losses of 40 per cent “that is equivalent to at least 1bn pesos”.

Rivero has called on the government and the producers, through their institutions like Confenagro and the Dominican Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), to agree on a strategy to help the sector.

Among the measures proposed by both entities is a request to extend credit lines for at least one more year, and to suspend the interest generated by the loans from the Agricultural Bank and Reserve Bank with banana and banana producers.

They are also calling for the affected producers who have not benefited from financing to be granted new credits to recover their plantations.


Northwest and northeast aqueducts still out of service
More than 914,000 people in the northwest and northeast of the country are affected by discontinued services in piped drinking water, due to the rising of the rivers caused by the increase in rains since hurricane Maria has affected 58 aqueducts, of which 52 are totally out of service.

The information was given by General Juan Manuel Méndez, director the Emergency Operations Center (COE), and Ramón Batista representing the National Institute of Drinking Water (Inapa) in the COE.


Injured people arrive in the country from Dominica
The National Health Service (SNS) reported receiving nine patients from the island of Dominica that was devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria. Executive director of the SNS, Dr. Nelson Rodríguez Monegro said that two were admitted to the Darío Contreras, three to the Ney Arias Lora and four to the Vinicio Calventi public hospitals, with serious injuries of different kinds.

They were transported here by plane and landed at the San Isidro Air Force base. According to Rodríguez Monegro, Dr. Alma Morales, of the Pan American Health Organization (OPS) helped coordinate the medical relief effort.

Rodríguez Monegro said that the transfer had taken place via the OPS, the Dominican Armada, the Department of Emergency and Disaster at the Ministry of Public Health, and Dr. Mirna Font Frías, regional director of Metropolitan Health, who coordinated to reserve space at the hospitals.


Remittances from the US and Spain increase
According to the Central Bank, remittances sent from overseas have increased by 11.8% in the first seven months of the year, compared with the same period last year, at US$3.43 billion.

There were 13.42 million transactions, and the amount of remittances from the United States has grown from US$66.45 for each US$100 that arrived in 2010 up to US$72.57 for each US$100 this year.

The Central Bank has said that the growth in remittances from the United States corresponds with increases in employment in the US as well as a strengthening economy. Spain is the second country from where remittances are received with US$14.69 for each US$100 that arrives in the country followed by Italy, Haiti and Switzerland with much lower amounts, barely 4% of the total received in the country.

Residents in the National District received more than a third of the remittances, or US$1.08 billion, which is a considerable change from the picture seven years ago when it scarcely received 9% of the total.

The provinces of Duarte, La Vega and Peravia follow in receipt of most of the nation’s remittances.


Average age of government employees in the DR rises to 44 years
According to data registered in the Administrative System of Public Servants (SASP), the average age of those working in Public Administration, in 200 institutions has risen to 44.34 years. Of the 331,603 government employees, 210,083, which is 63.35%, are aged over 40, according to a press release.

928 (0.28%) are less than 20 years old; 38,233 (11.53%) 20 to 29; 82,359 (24.84%), 30 to 39; 89,842 (27.09 %), 40 to 49; 79,356 (23.93%) 50 to 59 and 40,885 (12.33%) 60 years old or more.


Haitians assault commuter bus in El Seibo
Three Haitians were arrested for assaulting a commuter bus in El Seibo. The Haitians are accused of injuring a passenger and attempted bus assault. The arrested are 23-year old Ramón Yoset; 23-year old Kenny Deimo Molsi; and 45-year old Remolo Pie. They are accused of attempted assault of Bus 18 of the Asociación de Transporte Seybano (Asotrasey). Witnesses say the Haitians threw rocks, bottles and debris on the road to stop the bus. A telephone call alerted the Police that confronted the assailants resulting in the arrests.

The bus suffered broken glass and a passenger was injured and cared for at the Dr. Téofilo Hernández public hospital in El Seibo. Pedestrian Willy Fermín Gabriel, who confronted the men, was also injured. The minibus driver and assistant Alcides Miguel Cueto and Carlos Daniel Acelis, were not injured.


Daughter of a Dominican, Cardi B makes #1 on Billboard Hot 100
American rap singer, Cardi B, became this week the first woman of Dominican descent to grab a Billboard Hot 100 list for her single “Bodak Yellow “(Money Moves). The New York Times called the song “the rap anthem of the summer.”

Cardi B is Belcalis Almanzar, a New York City girl born from a Dominican father and a Trinidadian mother. Cardi B built her career with the support of her friends on the Internet, to later become a regular cast member of the VH1 reality television series “Love & Hip Hop: New York. In February 2017, she signed her first major label record deal with Atlantic Records.

More outstanding, the Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" is the first solo Billboard Hot 100 no. 1 by a female rapper this century, the second in history after Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" 19 years ago.
The Carli B nickname is from her childhood, and comes from Bacardi rum.

Listen to the track at:

Rains to continue on Tuesday, 26 September 2017
A trough in the western Caribbean is interacting with a weak tropical wave making its way from Haiti causing rain showers nationwide. The National Weather Service (Onamet) says the rains will continue until they gradually let go on Wednesday, 27 September 2017. Then on Wednesday, the effects of the Sahara Dust cloud moving from Africa will begin to be felt, bringing dryer weather for the rest of the weak.

Onamet maintains the alert for flooding in Monte Plata, Samaná, Espaillat, María Trinidad Sánchez and Puerto Plata. Rains are also forecast for Santiago Rodríguez, Sánchez Ramírez, Montecristi, Duarte, Greater Santo Domingo, Hermanas Mirabal, La Vega, Monseñor Nouel, Santiago and Valverde.


Dominican weightlifting team does well in Central American Championship
The national weight lifting team did well at the Central American and Caribbean Weightlifting Championship in Guatemala City. William Ozuna, president of the Dominican Weightlifting Federation, said the Dominican participation was one of the best ever by a Dominican team. The Dominican team won 27 medals.

The best athletes were: Luis García and Beatriz Pirón, winners of three gold medals each; Georgina Silvestre and Yafreisy Silvestre with three silver medals and, Carolanni Reyes with three bronze medals. Other winners of medals were Crismery Santana, Verónica Saladín, Luis Coca and Julio Cedeño.