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Punta Cana Declared Disaster Zone As Authorities Evaluate Extent Of Damage To Local Resorts

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Punta Cana and several other regions in the Dominican Republic have been declared a disaster zone as hurricane Fiona leaves behind a trail of destruction. Although the hurricane is no longer battering the country, authorities are only beginning to understand the magnitude of the damage it left behind.

Hurricane damage

Several of the Dominican Republic’s most popular resort destinations, including Punta Cana (La Altagracia) and Samaná, have been declared a disaster zone as hurricane Fiona moves away from the country. Earlier on Monday, the center of the hurricane swept through the eastern part of the island, making landfall in Punta Cana and gradually moving along the northeastern coast.

Hurricane Fiona

Much of the country remains on red weather alert, indicating that strong meteorological conditions may persist throughout Tuesday. Meanwhile, central and western provinces, such as Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata, are under yellow alert. 

Hurricane Fiona has now left Dominican territory and is moving northwest. The country is gradually beginning to assess the damage caused by the category-two hurricane. Fiona has been especially troublesome for the country’s eastern provinces, home to many of the country’s resort destinations. 

Floods

It is unclear how much damage the hurricane has caused in Punta Cana, although reports indicate widespread damage in resort pools, outdoor areas, and roofs. However, it appears that most hotel structures themselves remain intact despite the over 100 kilometers per hour winds. 

According to the Dominican Republic Association for Hotels and Tourism, hotels are currently examining the total amount of damage caused by the hurricane. Based on the current situation, many hotels and resorts are expected to be able to continue operating, according to the association’s vice president Andrés Marranzini. Workers have also been left stranded, unable to reach hotels and resorts as public transport has been shut down. 

eye of hurricane

Destruction has also been reported on beaches and infrastructure across the Punta Cana  – Bávaro area. Punta Cana International Airport was closed for much of Sunday and Monday but has since then reopened, and flights are operating normally, according to airport officials. 

Many tourists took to social media to give a first-hand account of their experience during the hurricane. Guests were told to shelter in place, with some visitors complaining about being left in the dark by hotel staff. 

Windy beach

More than 90% of users in La Altagracia (Punta Cana) were left without power as emergency workers attempted to fix the grid. The hurricane also unleashed landslides in parts of the country, which have damaged highways, and flooding in urban and rural areas prompted evacuations.

Santo Domingo has fared better, although it also experienced heavy rain, wind, and lightning, and more than 20 flights were canceled on Monday. 

Storm departing beach

Due to the effects of the storm affecting the Dominican Republic today, the use of beaches around the country remains prohibited. Moreover, residents and visitors are barred from practicing aquatic sports and recreational mountain activities, with excursions and tours canceled. 

At least 12,485 people were evacuated during the hurricane, and one death has been reported. Authorities are still determining the extent of the damage caused by the hurricane, and more injuries will likely be reported later. Material damages are also extensive, with 2,500 properties damaged, according to the Centre for Emergency Operations (COE).

Heavy rains may cause flooding in rivers.

Tourists who are planning on visiting the Dominican Republic over the following week can largely expect most resorts to operate normally. However, certain amenities, such as pools, beaches, and outdoor areas, may be temporarily closed whilst workers clean up and repair collateral damages. Minimal interruptions have been reported in the country’s western provinces, including Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second-largest city. 

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