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UN increases appeal for storm victims in Dominican Republic to $18.5 million

NEW YORK – The United Nations is seeking an additional $4.1 million to aid storm victims in the Dominican Republic, bringing the total requested over the past two months to $18.5 million.

The additional funds are needed to assist those affected earlier this month by tropical storm Olga, which killed up to 33 people and displaced another 61,000, bringing new hardship and significantly disrupting recovery and relief efforts after tropical storm Noel struck the Caribbean country at the end of October, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Two weeks after Olga hit, nearly 14,000 people remain in 42 shelters while 47,700 others are staying with family and friends. Material damage is also significant, with over 12,000 houses affected, of which 370 were completely destroyed. Together, the two storms killed over 160 people and directly affected more than 130,000.

At the same time, $6 million of the $14.4 million requested in November for relief and recovery after Noel have already been committed, leaving $8.4 million outstanding.

Health care, water and sanitation, food security and shelters are the top priority needs. Although the impact of Olga was less severe than that of Noel, the recent storm further complicated ongoing relief and recovery efforts since many of the areas affected by Noel were also hit by the later storm.

The UN and its partners are supporting the Government in its response to both disasters. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continues its distribution of food packages and hygiene items to affected communities, while the UN World Health Organisation (WHO)/Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is providing supplementary staff, both local and international, and technical assistance in health and sanitation.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided hygiene and cleaning equipment as well as medical supplies, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is carrying out emergency projects.

In the aftermath of Noel, storm victims have also benefited from a $2.8 million grant allocated in November by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in support of immediate life-saving activities.

This year alone the Fund has committed $212.9 million to rapid response grants in 48 countries, including the Dominican Republic, and another $124 million in support of under-funded emergencies in 23 countries.

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