Recurrent heavy rainfalls in the last few months have caused an unprecedented growth of Lake Enriquillo, resulting in a widespread flooding and extensive damage to agricultural and pasture lands in the provinces of Independencia and Bahoruco. The impact of heavy rainfall is aggravated by the easy overflow of the river Yaque del Sur, through which abundant sediments massively flow into the Lake, causing its immediate growth and flooding of increasingly larger areas that for many years have been used for pasture and agriculture production. In 2009, this phenomenon -usually occurring during the peak of the rainy season- has started in the first couple of months of the year, provoking a critical deterioration of livelihoods around the Lake and the abandonment of large portions of traditionally productive areas.
Dominican Republic is currently under the threat of additional flooding around the Lake and in other areas of the country. The island of “La Hispaniola” is geographically exposed to the effects of the hurricanes season, from June to November, and the recent rains are likely to continue into that season with high risk of flooding across the country.
Based on an inter-ministerial preliminary situation report, the President established a response and recovery plan for the areas around Lake Enriquillo. However, to date, the Government has not been able to implement an effective and comprehensive actions to provide the required immediate emergency assistance to the affected population. As a result, the Government, through the Vice-President, has requested WFP’s immediate relief assistance in support of the affected food-insecure population.
Affected families living in the most vulnerable areas have lost their assets and agricultural output. Due to the floods, they are currently surviving without their main source of income and food. Food aid will be distributed through food-for-work modality and will complement basic items provided by NGOs in order to support people's adequate nutrition and health while recovering their normal livelihoods.
The objectives of the IR-EMOP are i) to ensure immediate access to food of the most vulnerable population and ii) to provide the most affected families with family food rations to assist them while they are recovering their livelihoods.