Tropical Storm Noel has killed more than 20 people and injured dozens in the Dominican Republic. A red alert has been declared in six provinces and for the capital Santo Domingo. Several thousand people have been evacuated and many have been left without a home. Roads and bridges have been destroyed leaving entire communities isolated.
Flights to and from the International airport have been suspended. The tropical storm also dumped torrential rain on vulnerable Haiti, triggering fears of deadly flash floods and mudslides in the impoverished Caribbean country. By Monday evening, the eye of the storm had passed and was heading north-west, past the eastern tip of Cuba towards the Bahamas.
The slow-moving storm is expected to spare Florida and critical US oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. While this hurricane season has seen more storms than usual – Noel being the 14th – it is still a far cry from the record-busting 2005 season with its 28 storms and including Katrina.