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Caribbean storm triggers relief effort

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A Southern Baptist relief effort is being planned in the aftermath of a Caribbean storm which killed at least 117 people and drove more than 50,000 people from their homes in the Dominican Republic.

Slow-moving Tropical Storm Noel dumped rain for more than two days on the Dominican Republic, triggering mudslides and floods that damaged homes, roads and bridges. Noel killed 73 people in the Dominican Republic, 43 in Haiti and one in Jamaica before brushing Cuba and heading toward the Bahamas, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The storm has since strengthened into a hurricane and headed toward New England and Nova Scotia.

Two days after the storm hit the Dominican Republic, rain still was falling, making it difficult for rescuers to reach communities cut off by flooding.

“Southern Baptist field partners are in the process of assessing the needs,” said Jim Brown, Americas area director for Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist international development and relief organization that will be coordinating relief efforts in cooperation with Southern Baptist personnel and local Baptist churches.

In the wake of a hurricane, relief work typically focuses on meeting immediate needs such as food and clean drinking water and plastic sheeting for leaking roofs. Other needs such as helping bury victims, counseling for survivors, clearing roads and repairing homes also may be necessary.

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