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Wednesday, May 24, 2006 

May, 24 - 9:37 AM

Fear repeat of a tragedy that killed hundreds of Dominicans

JIMANI. – As today marks the second anniversary of the flash flood which killed and estimated 350 Dominicans and an undetermined number of Haitians and left dozens missing in this community, the haunting of that fatidic day and the threat of its repeat keeps its inhabitants unsettled.

The residents who survived allege that plot-farming and the continuous deforestation in the mountain’s upper elevations dividing this township from Haiti, could cause another tragedy.
This municipality’s parish priest, Jose Ramon de la Cruz, expressed his fear, affirming that the cutting of trees to make coal is a serious problem that no solution has been sought two years after the tragedy.

Today a series of activities has been prepared to commemorate the Blanco river’s overflowing is banks, among them, a mass for the victims left in its wake.

The priest feels that the levee being built along the Blanco river’s banks will not solve the flooding from the seasonal rains.

"The solution is in Haiti not down here. Until a reforestation program is not conducted in Haiti there is no solution," he said, adding that in the zone the problems of deforestation continue.
"Because if you go now to the hills of the high river basin, people continue deforesting to burn charcoal and to do plot-farming, then the problem is not down here. The consequences are here," he said.

The prelate affirms that the situation could only be controlled with a bi-national agreement which has been works, but that it has been left side for lack of coordination, resources and planning.

"Many many bi-national agreements, meetings and encounters have been convened with the mayors and priests of the zone and nothing has been obtained, because the deforestation, the burning for charcoal and the plot-farming in the high part continues. That is a serious problem,” he said.

De la Cruz added that seeing the boulders that the Blanco river’s waters dragged the dawn of May 24, 2004 is enough to realize that the levee will not hold.

Dominican Today - Portal Alta Tecnologia

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