- By Emily McGarvey
- BBC news
At least 21 people have died in the Dominican Republic after heavy rains over the weekend displaced thousands of residents, officials said.
An investigation has been launched after nine people died when torrential rain caused a motorway tunnel wall to collapse in the capital Santo Domingo.
More than 13,000 people were evacuated to secure areas after heavy rains
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) said rain caused flooded homes, power outages and damaged bridges and roads.
Three children were among those killed.
Dominican President Luis Abinader called it the “biggest rainfall event ever” in the country’s history after violent storms over the past 48 hours.
The Caribbean nation has been hit by torrential downpours, with footage on social media showing torrents of water pouring through streets and washing away vehicles.
More than 2,500 people were rescued and more than 2,600 homes were affected by the storm, the COE said.
It added that 45 communities were without communication on Sunday afternoon.
The rain, which is the result of a tropical depression, is expected to continue over parts of the country until Monday, the US embassy said.
A majority of the country’s 32 provinces remain under red and yellow weather warnings, it added.
President Abinader said classes have been suspended until Wednesday “to evaluate the schools that may have been affected” and “guarantee the safety of our youth”.
He wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he was “deeply shocked by the loss of life due to the heavy rain” and offered “unconditional support to all those affected by this emergency”.
Four of those killed were American citizens and three were from neighboring Haiti, the AFP news agency reported.