DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 6 October 2016


May 3, 2000
Matthew causes havoc in DR
COE reports 39,000 displaced people
Farm damage not considerable, says Minister of Agriculture
SNS alert to prevent disease after Matthew
Matthew forces detour at Saman? Highway
Matthew fills up reservoirs
Matthew delays Haitian elections
Crack on overpass not a danger: Public Works
Health Service and CMD in talks
Jim?nez Bichara stresses need to fix transmission lines
Naco high-rise suspended for taking over the sidewalk
Second Lady Jill Biden to visit
Mario Sturla: Immigration judge in Boston
Nestor Munoz office searched in firearms contraband case
Weather forecast
Rafa Rosario opens restaurant in Naco
Santiago Cruz coming for two concerts

Matthew causes havoc in DR
Tropical storm winds and rains were felt in the Dominican Republic when Hurricane Matthew crossed Haiti to the west of the shared Hispaniola island. The Emergency Operations Center (COE) and media reports are that at least 20 farming communities have been cut off by in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in the provinces of Hato Mayor and El Seibo following the destruction of a bridge caused by overflowing rivers. The communities affected in the eastern provinces include El Rancho, Vicentillo, Bejucal, Las Culebras and Yabon. The town of Hato Mayor is cut off from communities like Mata Palacio, Yerba Buena and Las Claras. The Higuamo River split in two and destroyed the approaches to the road that leads to Hato Mayor.

Just after noon on Wednesday, 5 October 2016, Diario Libre reported that the Ministry of Public Works had still not been re-established the road connections.

In the municipal district of San Francisco-Vicentillo, floodwaters destroyed the bridge that connects seven communities.

In the southwest, residents of Vicente Noble were affected by flooding of several streams that cross the city. The rains forced residents to get their belongings out of their houses to take them to higher ground after floodwaters surrounded many of their homes. One resident, Martina Gomez, told reporters: ?We did not sleep last night, we stayed up all night holding on to whatever we could.? Several hours after residents complained of the lack of support from the authorities, heavy equipment was cleaning up the streets of the small town as well as parts of the paving of the highway that was washed away by the floodwaters.

In Santo Domingo North the ?Puente del Centro? in the neighborhood of Los Guaricanos collapsed at noon on Wednesday as a result of the rain that caused flooding in the area. The bridge, which connects El Torito with Los Guaricanos collapsed as vehicles were crossing, and a motorcycle and a car were affected. The motorcycle rider was taken to the hospital but the driver of the car, which was perched over the edge of the collapsed bridge, was able to walk away.

As reported in the press, the driver, Manuel Antonio Pe?a did not suffer any injuries.


COE reports 39,000 displaced people
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) reported on Wednesday afternoon, 5 October 2016 that 39,061 people were staying with relatives after leaving their homes as a result of the rains that accompanied Hurricane Matthew.

Speaking to reporters, the COE director, General Juan Manuel Mendez Gonzalez, said that the number of houses affected had increased to 3,174, with 16 damaged, 25 destroyed and 40 communities cut off, and 1,252 people staying in government shelters. According to the COE director, the worst damage was reported in Vicente Noble where the flooding of the Boringa River caused a landslide that affected the local hospital and several residential areas.

The chairman of the National Emergency Commission, Major General Rafael de Luna Pichirilo, reported that the largest numbers of displaced people have been reported in Santo Domingo, Monte Plata, El Seibo and Azua.

In the National District Civil Defense evacuated six families from La Barquita amid fears that the Ozama River could begin to rise.


Farm damage not considerable, says Minister of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture ?ngel Francisco Est?vez says that the only report of damage received following the passage of Hurricane Matthew is from a plantain farm that lost 25% of the crop.

He said that most farmers had harvested their crops before the storm hit. He said that on the positive side, the storm had refilled the country?s dams, meaning that there will be plenty of water for irrigating the next crops.

Nevertheless, he said that Ministry of Agriculture teams are touring the country to assess the situation and support the farmers.


SNS alert to prevent disease after Matthew
National Health Service (SNS) director Nelson Rodr?guez is encouraging the public to take special care to prevent the spread of disease after the increased rainfall that has accompanied Hurricane Matthew. The SNS is the coordinating body for public health services in the country.

Rodr?guez warned that the excessive rainfall pollutes water supply systems and can cause disease. He called for preventive measures against cholera, salmonella, leptospirosis, hepatitis A, dermatological skin infections and respiratory diseases. They can be prevented by purifying water (boiling or adding chlorine), not walking barefoot in rivers, washing hands before eating and after going to the bathroom, and by preventing the propagation of mosquitoes (zika, dengue, and others).


Matthew forces detour at Saman? Highway
The Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) reports that the flooding of Yabacao River at Km. 16 of the Saman? Highway (Autopista del Nordeste or Autopista Juan Pablo II) has forced a detour of traffic on the expressway to Saman? from Santo Domingo. Diego Pesqueira, spokesman for the AMET, said the detour is located after the second tollbooth on the South-North direction in the province of Monte Plata. The detour obliges travelers to take the inside roads in Monte Plata to avoid the flooding river waters.


Matthew fills reservoirs
The heavy rainfall caused by hurricane Matthew has benefited the Dominican Republic by raising the water levels in almost all of the dams around the country, especially Hatillo and Rincon that have reached or are about to reach their maximum levels.

Speaking at a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center (COE) on Wednesday, 5 October 2016, Dam Committee member Luis Cuevas told Diario Libre reporters: ?The Lower Yuna watershed has to be watched.? He pointed out that Hatillo was currently at 82.52 m above sea level, which means it is slightly above its maximum level of 86.50 m above sea level. Meanwhile, the Rincon reservoir in La Vega is currently at 119.78 m above sea level and its maximum capacity is at 122 m.

Other dams and their reservoirs that are reaching or have reached their maximum level are Lopez ? Angostura, Rio Blanco, Valdesia, Jig?ey, Sabana Yegua and Maguaca as well as the counter dam on the Mao River. The authorities are currently handling the water entering the Jig?ey-Valdesia complex and said that there was sufficient water well into 2017.

As of Wednesday afternoon, and despite the fact that hurricane Matthew is moving away from the area, the COE is maintaining its red alert for 20 provinces and its yellow alert for 11 provinces due to the risk of urban flooding, overflowing rivers and creeks as well as land and mudslides.

Matthew delays Haitian elections
Haiti?s Provisional Electoral Council announced on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 that the general elections set for this coming Sunday were being rescheduled because of the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, a category-4 storm. The country?s southern peninsula is still cut off due to the storm damage. A new date for the election has not been announced.

As late as Monday and despite the approach of the powerful hurricane, the council was still guaranteeing that the election would go ahead as scheduled.

The results of the previous election, which was held in October 2015 were annulled after the council established that there had been irregularities.

Crack on overpass not a danger: Public Works
A long crack that appeared on the northbound side of the overpass on Av. 27 Febrero between Carmen Mendoza and Dr. Defill? streets in Santo Domingo does not pose a risk to drivers, according to Ramon Pepin of the Public Works Ministry cabinet.

The official said that technicians would assess the problem but that it did not represent a danger to the public.

In an interview for the popular radio program ?El Gobierno de la Ma?ana? he said that the first thing that they?re going to do is to repair the crack but they would also carry out a thorough inspection of the entire structure. He urged the public to continue using the northbound lane.


Health Service and CMD in talks
The head of the National Health Service (SNS), Nelson Rodr?guez Monegro and the president of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD), Waldo Ariel Suero, held talks on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 to discuss the main problems affecting the Dominican Republic health system.

This is the second time that these two leaders of the health sector have come together to try and solve some of the major issues concerning their sector. As reported, one the issues they talked about was the selection process for hospital directors, in which they are seeking a greater degree of professionalism in the management of hospitals, according to Dr. Rodr?guez Monegro. They also talked about the repairs underway in many of the nation?s hospitals together with what is known as the Legal Internship (Pasant?a de Ley) and postgraduate studies as well as medical residence together with the academic component.

Pensions were also discussed, as well as many of the daily problems facing all the institutions that make up the national health system. Both men said that progress was made on important points.

Jim?nez Bichara stresses need to fix transmission lines
The executive vice president of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), Rub?n Jim?nez Bichara, reported on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 that the government is placing the highest priority on investment to improve and fix its transmission lines in order to reduce losses in electricity and energy distribution.

The official was speaking in Santiago during the presentation of the 2012-2016 Four-Year report by the EdeNorte distribution company. Jim?nez Bichara said that the figures for the last four years showed that EdeNorte is the electricity distributor with the best management in terms of loss reduction and 24-hour services. According to El Nacional, EdeNorte has reduced its losses from 38.4% in 2012 to 28.1% so far this year.

Naco high-rise suspended for taking over the sidewalk
The city government of Santo Domingo has ordered a halt to construction of a high-rise apartment building in the upscale Naco neighborhood on the grounds that the construction had taken over the sidewalk, affecting pedestrian movement.

The council gave the construction company, Otalsa, 24 hours to rectify the situation. The building is being constructed on the corner of Luis Alberti and Andres Avelino Garc?a streets in Naco.

The director of the office for the Defense and Use of Public Spaces, Anibal Diaz, told reporters from 7 dias.com that the idea is not to interrupt the work of the construction company but also, through talks and agreements with the businesspeople, to find some way to ensure that citizens are also protected.


Second Lady Jill Biden to visit
The wife of US Vice President Joe Biden, Jill Biden is on a Caribbean tour of Cuba and the Dominican Republic from 6-10 October 2016. She will be meeting with local authorities on cultural, educational, health and women?s issues.

Her schedule includes visits to Havana and Camaguey in Cuba from 6-9 October and to Santo Domingo on 10 October, as reported in El Nacional.


Mario Sturla: Immigration judge in Boston
United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced the appointment of Dominican-American Mario Sturla Guerra to the post of Federal Immigration Judge.

Sturla is the son of Dominicans Erasmo Sturla and Margarita Rosa Guerra Pellerano. He is a graduate of Brown University, with a doctorate from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

He is assigned to the immigration court in Boston, Massachusetts.

There are currently 874 authorized Article III judgeships: nine on the Supreme Court, 179 on the courts of appeals, nine on the Court of International Trade and 677 for the district courts.


Nestor Mu?oz office searched in firearms contraband case
Military officers and prosecutors have searched the private offices of a propane company belonging to newly installed deputy Nestor Mu?oz (PRSC-San Pedro de Macor?s) who is being linked to a firearms trafficking operation exposed by Customs. The search on Wednesday 5 October 2016 was carried out by the Ministry of Defense Intelligence Unit (J2).

The legislator has been linked to an illegal arms shipment seized in the Port of Haina in September 2016. His name was on the bill (No. 220270) for the shipment that included the smuggled firearms, which was being sent to an address in San Pedro de Macoris.

El D?a quotes a source as saying that one of the legislator?s sons is being asked to return to the country to declare responsibility for the shipment.

?The shipment company is persuading the son to take on responsibility and release the agency or they will report the case to the United States firearms control agency,? the source told El D?a.

So far, Mu?oz has denied any links to the firearms shipment and called for an in-depth investigation. He expressed disappointed that his first turn speaking in the Chamber of Deputies had to be in reference to the case. He thanked the Attorney General for asking the Supreme Court of Justice to assign a special judge to hear the accusations against him.


Weather forecast
According to the national weather service, Onamet, rainfall and wind gusts will continue on Thursday, 6 October 2016, even though the storm is well past the Dominican Republic.

The hurricane is currently over the Bahamas and is expected to graze the eastern coast of Florida later this week, perhaps on Friday, as a category four storm.

Onamet maintains its flood warnings for the provinces of Santo Domingo, San Cristobal, Peravia, San Jose de Ocoa, Azua, San Juan de la Maguana, Barahona, Pedernales, Independencia, Bahoruco, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, Monte Plata, La Vega and Monsignor Nouel (Bonao). There is also an alert for flooding and landslides in Elias Pi?a, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez, Montecristi and El Seibo.

There are small craft warnings along the Atlantic Coast and in the Caribbean 8 to 10-foot waves are being reported. The meteorological office is also watching a tropical wave to the east of the Leeward Islands.

Rafa Rosario opens restaurant in Naco
Famous merengue bandleader Rafa Rosario of Los Hermanos Rosario has partnered with Ysrael Abreu to open the Millo by Rafa Rosario Restaurant in the Naco neighborhood. The restaurant opened on Monday, 3 October 2016. Rosario describes the restaurant as a place where he can spend time with his friends and do things differently. Fausto Rey, the iconic romantic singer, appeared on Wednesday, 5 October 2016, as part of a series of guest performers scheduled for Wednesdays at the restaurant. Rosario won the Premios Soberano award for merengue of the year in 2016. The restaurant is located at Calle Florence Terry 5 in Naco, Santo Domingo.


Santiago Cruz coming for two concerts

Colombian singer-songwriter Santiago Cruz, a Latin Grammy nominee (2010 and 2013), is booked for concerts in Santiago and Santo Domingo this year. He will perform on 10 November 2016 at the Gran Teatro del Cibao in Santiago and on 12 November 2016 at the Nuryn Sanlley Amphitheater in the Iberoamerican Park in Santo Domingo.

Santiago Cruz says that his songs ?draw inspiration from his life, memories, dreams and what he wants out of life.? The singer describes himself as ?a messenger of the universe.?

He is also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals.

Tickets are for sale at the Gran Teatro del Cibao (Santiago) and at Uepa Tickets, Supermercados Nacional and Jumbo and the box office of the amphitheater.


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