Damage due to tropical disturbance exceeds RD$8 billion
Santo Domingo.- The recent tropical disturbance that struck the Dominican Republic on November 18th resulted in not only 30 fatalities but also substantial material damages exceeding RD$8 billion (Dominican pesos), excluding the public works sector, which was significantly impacted. President Luis Abinader disclosed this preliminary estimate during “LA Semanal con la Prensa”. He indicated that this figure was derived from a meeting held to review emergency budgets submitted by various institutions.
President Abinader clarified that while the institutions have requested RD$8 billion, it does not guarantee they will receive the full amount. The funds allocated might be adjusted based on the urgency and nature of the needs. He also noted that the Ministry of Public Works is expected to submit its report on the damages soon.
The districts of Greater Santo Domingo, Duarte, and San José de Ocoa were among the hardest hit by the heavy rains, attributed to climate change. The government has faced challenges in accurately quantifying the damages.
Abinader mentioned that the current State budget is set to expire in December. Hence, unspent resources will revert to the budget, and the government is assessing how to address the needs of those affected within the remaining time of the year.
Additionally, the President announced that the Santo Domingo Aqueduct and Sewer Corporation (Caasd) will present a comprehensive storm and sanitary drainage program for Greater Santo Domingo within 15 days. This significant project is expected to take up to 12 years to complete. Caasd is already working on the sanitation of over 40 kilometers of ravines in Greater Santo Domingo to prevent flooding in vulnerable areas.
Regarding the Christmas bonus, President Abinader confirmed that the Dominican Government would start disbursing the bonus to employees and pensioners starting next week. This disbursement, also known as the thirteenth salary, will amount to RD$27 billion.
In addition to the bonus, the Government will also reintroduce Villa Navidad at the Olympic Center and in Santiago, starting December 1st. The Government plans to distribute food rations and implement the “My Best Christmas 2023” program. This program, run by the Special Directorate of Special Projects of the Presidency (Propeep), will reward neighborhoods in the National District and Santo Domingo province for the best Christmas decorations. For the first time, similar Christmas activities will take place in Santiago, near the Gran Teatro del Cibao.
Theme parks will be established in several other cities, including Puerto Plata, San Francisco de Macorís, San Juan, La Vega, Higüey, San Pedro de Macorís, San Cristóbal, and the San Luis municipal district. The Presidency’s Social Plan will deliver one million food rations, and the Economic Kitchens will provide 2,500 buffet-style Christmas lunches for 500 people each.