Local June 4, 2013 | 10:30 am

Lake Enriquillo swelling floods more than 18,000 hectares: Bishop

BARAHONA, Dominican Republic.- The swelling of Lake Enriquillo has flooded more than 18,000 hectares of various crops, while 535 families at Boca de Cachon, Jimaní had to be relocated as floodwaters threatens their homes.

Barahona diocese bishop Rafael Leonidas Felipe Nuñez voiced the warning after a meeting with members of the committee in charge of monitoring the lake’s status. "More than 18,000 hectares of cultivated land have been flooded and a lot of families who have lost their livelihoods can no longer work their spreads, because these lands are already salinized."

The priest said the encroaching salt water has dried fruit trees such as coconuts, avocados, mangoes and others.

"In Boca de Cachon Jimaní, 335 families need to be relocated because the lake continues to move toward that community, and they can not continue to live there," he said.

Felipe said Enriquillo Lake has washed out part of the road between the towns of Limon and Las Baitoas, near Duvergé. "Public Works has been filling half a mile where there’s water on both sides of the road, and Lake Enriquillo impacts the walls of the levy it has been building in that area."

He said the crews work to build a detour road on the higher part of Jimani, while the highway between Boca de Cachon and Bartolome is flooded. "The situation that exists at that place is very serious."

The prelate complained that the work is slow. “People who live in that place want more agility, more availability, to work faster, because the threat is strong."

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