The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the Dominican Republic is providing assistance to hundreds of families affected by Hurricane Isaias, which struck the island on July 30. The storm brought rains that overflowed rivers, drenching 14 provinces and affecting more than 5,500 persons and damaging 1,000 homes.

“Most of the damage was caused in the Hato Mayor Province, in the Gualey community, in the southeastern region,” said Roberto Matos, ADRA Dominican Republic director, who toured many of the affected communities the day after Isaias hit the island.

Hato Mayor is no stranger to hurricanes, having been devastated by Irma and Maria in 2017.

“So many people in Hato Mayor expressed how this time the flooding was worse, almost reaching the ceiling,” said Matos. “This comes at a time when the country is struggling economically because of the pandemic.”

Altagracia Zorrilla is still in shock at how it all happened when Isais hit. “We didn’t have time to pick up anything and the water came in so fast that we had to leave quickly,” she said. “The next day when we returned we saw the disaster in my house. One of the walls in my house had fallen and all my belongings had been swept away by the flooding.” Mrs. Zorrilla is among the beneficiaries of ADRA’s response in Hato Mayor this week.

Wilberto Rodríguez from Hato Mayor said he and his family had suffered from floodings before but none like Hurricane Isaias. “The water rose to such a height that we had never seen before,” he said. “We lost all our belongings, beds, clothes, food, and everything was covered in mud,” said Rodríguez.

ADRA is providing 409 box spring beds to 385 of the most affected families in Hato Mayor. “Each registered family will be able to collect their bed in a nearby location, said Matos. The affected families have also received food and clothing.

Pastor Paulino Puello, president of the church in the Dominican Republic, reported that 159 families lost their belongings in the flooding. “Immediately after the storm, church members from the southeast region provided warm meals to hundreds of persons for three straight days,” said Puello. The union and conferences throughout the island sent in funds to assist the Adventist families and those in the affected communities as well. Several churches were flooded and will be further assessed for structural damage, he said.

“We continue to pray for the families who, even though they lost everything, are keeping strong in the faith,” Puello said.

To learn more about what ADRA Dominican Republic and its projects and initiatives, visit adra.org.do

This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website

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