Dominican Republic storm deaths rise to 56, thousands evacuated

Thirty Dominican provinces remain on red alert for the rains, as the Emergency Operations Center (COE) reports 56 deaths and 27 missing.
In an emergency meeting yesterday, President Leonel Fernandez ordered the evacuation of 36 communities threatened by floods or adjacent to dams.
He also decided to seek military assistance from countries which can provide helicopters with the capacity to evacuate people and supply foods rations, medicines and other items for populations which have been cut off around the country.
Until 6:00 p.m. yesterday, the COE had evacuated 58,328 people, 17,895 of those taken to 89 qualified shelters.

Dominican Today, 01.11.07

Dominican Government asks for help

SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Government last night asked the friendly nations for aid and financing from international organisms to confront the emergency in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Noel.
The representatives vowed to assess the damage through their technical delegations.
The Inter-American Development Bank’s (I.D.B.) representative, Moisés Pineda, said it will donate US $200,000 to the government before Monday, to attend emergencies and that a US $500.0 million fund is available for the country’s reconstruction. He said the I.A.D.B.’s policy for these situations is to work with the government and civil society.
Economy minister Temístocles Montás said the Government asked the I.A.D.B. and the World Bank to expedite the disbursement of the two separate loans totaling US $200.0 million approved to the country.
Montás, who met with representatives of cooperation and financing agencies and foreign diplomats in the country, said the Government’s priority is to build prefabricated houses and money to solve the enormous damages to infrastructure.

Dominican Today, 01.11.07

Sunny days may be coming

Weather reports from Puerto Rico substantiate eyewitness reports from Punta Cana where the sun is shining again. The large system that has brought gusts on Sunday and heavy rain through Wednesday seems to be moving northwards and is expected to lift from the Dominican Republic tomorrow. Reports from La Romana and Punta Cana are that the weather has cleared. Meanwhile, Santo Domingo, central areas and the southwest were drenched with rain early on Wednesday morning. Nevertheless, there are forecasts that the day will clear by tomorrow afternoon. At noontime, it was no longer raining in Santo Domingo.
The storm has primarily affected people who travel to work using public transportation and motoconchos, and the poor who live in vulnerable areas near rivers or hillsides. Solidarity is being called for to help those who have experienced flooding and property losses. Practically everyone seems to know someone whose house has been flooded.
See www.tormenta.net
ONAMET says that the additional rain was the result of a tropical wave located to the south of Puerto Rico that is moving at 30 kms an hour. Thus authorities are maintaining the Red Alert for 27 provinces. For the coast, small craft warnings continue in place, as waves of between six and eight feet are expected.

DR1, 01.11.07

Noel: 73 Dominicans dead, dozens missing, 62 towns cut off

The number of deaths caused by the Tropical Storm Noel rose to 73, with 43 missing, 62 communities cut off and the 62,428 people evacuated in zones under risk, said the Dominican emergency response agency (CNE) at noon Thursday.
In its bulletin read on television and radio today, the CNE also placed the country’s 31 provinces on red alert, and that 22,758 evacuees have been taken to 110 shelters nationwide.
COE director Manuel Antonio Luna said the floods from the storm damaged over 15,000 houses, 686 of them totally.
The official said the governmental has established an airlift between the southern mountain city San José de Ocoa and San Cristóbal, 20 miles west of the capital, to take dozens of patients who need urgent medical attention to a regional hospital, including two women in final stage of pregnancy.
This morning, COE reported the collapse of 35 bridges around the country.
In a related development, Emiliano Reyes Espejo the spokesman for Indotel, the country’s telecommunications agency, said communication has been restored in the countries southwest region, the hardest hit by Noel.

Dominican Today, 01.11.07

Governments and organizations provide help for DR

Various governments and international organizations began this Thursday the sending of material and economic resources in Dominican Republic to help the victims of the tropical storm Noel.
The Japanese government decided today to send of emergency aid to the Dominican Republic in the form of tents, covers, purifiers of water and other materials of a value of 13 million Yens (approx. 112.300 dollars) to mitigate the damage of the storm.
The Office of UNO for the Humane Assistance (OCHA) announced today that it sent a team to analyze the width of the damage caused by the tropical storm in the country, as well as the necessary international assistance. OCHA indicated that the Dominican government spent 2.9 million dollars, that the emergency plans were activated and that the teams of rescue help with the evacuation of the affected populations. The first evaluations of UNO advance that the country will need food, especially for the infantile population, water, brush, mosquito net, mattress, building materials, drugs and medical equipment as well as medical material. Moreover according to OCHA, fuel to conclude the operations of research and rescue starts to lack.

The International Federation of the Red Cross Companies sent this Thursday a plane with 42 tons of assistance for the people affected by the tropical storm Noel, informed the humane organization. A DC-8 Plane of a private company was dispatched by the Pan-American Unit of Response to Catastrophes (PADRU), with at its board articles of hygiene, kitchen, cans, mosquito nets etc…. The International Federation spent 230.000 and 150.000 Swiss franks (194.637 and 126.937 dollars), respectively, to immediately support the Dominican Red Cross and the Haitian Red Cross. The Federation made a preliminary emergency call to the international donors for approximately 800.000 Swiss franks (677.000 dollars) to help the people affected by Noel in Dominican Republic and in Haiti, as indicated by an official statement of the organization.

The funds will be used to help 15.000 people (10.000 in Dominican Republic and 5.000 in Haiti) as well as to the programming of psychological support during the next six months.
Several delegates of the PADRU specialized in the management of the catastrophes, telecommunications and logistics, were also sent in Dominican Republic.

Al Momento, 01.11.07

Government guarantees the fuels supply

The Secretariat of Commerce and Industry informed this Thursday that the fuels supply is guaranteed at the national level during the fifteen next days.

Its holder Melanio Paredes explained that in spite of the difficulties caused by the atmospheric disturbances which prevented the unloading of the tankers anchored in the ports, there are sufficient reserves to cover the requests.
Paredes explained that because of temporary impossibility to discharge the tankers, the Dominican Oil Refinery cannot treat the 32 thousand crude barrels daily that it normally treats.
However, it explained that they are working on the quickly repair of the marker of Refidomsa and on the standardization of the operations of the port of Haina to regularize the volume of fuels treatment.
He also informed that the country programmed and confirmed six tankers which will arrive between November 4 and 28, which guarantees the cover of the local hydrocarbon requests.
He said that concerning liquid oil gas, there are sufficient reserves to cover the normal request during next three or four days. He affirmed that the Geogas Company anchored in bay of Haina a ship of 20 million gallons of GLP, sufficient to cover the request for 20 days, while taking into account that the country consumes a million gallons per day.

Al Momento, 01.11.07

The Dominico-Europea Humanitarian Association in intervention after the storm

On Saturday, the Association intervened in the sector of Villa Riva, after Nagua, on the riverside of Rio Yuna (at only 1h by car of Las Terrenas), accompanied by a team of the civil protection directed by Doctor Rodriguez.
Our team made up of Anne Garnier, Hélène and Bernard Piriou could deliver food and clothes to those who lost everything in the storm.

In the villages which were completely submerged by water, we could deliver food and drinkable water and we made a catastrophic assessment: in a village of approximately 3000 people, a person in charge communicated an estimate of more than 100 killed persons and of 34 who are missing.

The submerged houses resisted to the force of water but the majority of the inhabitants lost everything including the food-producing cultures.

Several American helicopters of the « coast guard » sent on this zone are always in permanent rotation to evacuate the still insulated villages; a tractor with its trailer ensures the supply of some of these zones.
We were struck by the silence which reigns in the villages that we crossed; in spite of the re-establishment of electricity no music was playing there, which translates the distress of all these disaster victims.

DEHA, 04.11.07

U.S., Venezuela lead aid missions to assist Dominican victims

The governments of the United States and of Venezuela increased their assistance to face the damages from Tropical Storm « Noel ».

The U.S. yesterday brought a C-5 Galaxy aircraft, that nation’s largest military transport craft, with two Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for airlift and humanitarian tasks. The aircraft join the 14 helicopters and two transport aircraft which take food from the terminal Las Americas to the Maria Montez Airport, of Barahona (southwest).

Venezuela’s embassy said Caracas will donate 500 prefabricated houses and 20 tons of food, water and medicine. It also said it will send a tanker with diesel.

The United Kingdom is also taking active role by providing aid for the victims, and said a RFA Wave Knight aircraft will arrive with helicopters for rescue missions and to distribute food.

Dominican Today, 05.11.07

Competitiveness is now Dominican Law

SANTO DOMINGO – The Senate approved the awaited Competitiveness and Industrial Innovation Law yesterday, after accepting the Chamber of Deputies’ modifications to the bill, which had returned it on November 20.

The special senate commission that studied the piece, which the Senate had approved for the first time on September 11, said « this project aims to create an institutional framework and a normative body that allows the competitive development of the country’s manufacturing industry, transforming the national productive apparatus into an open commercial and highly competitive environment. » $var

In another vote, the Senate finally rejected the proposed amendment to the Delayed Birth Declaration Amnesty Law no. 218-07, submitted to the Legislative chambers by the Central Electoral Board.

Dominican Today, 28.11.07

Storm’s wake: Dominican Government cancels Christmas parties

Tropical Storm Noel just claimed one more victim, as the Government suspended this year’s Christmas celebrations of its many agencies, in respect to the loss of life and the damages which affected most of the population.

President Leonel the Fernandez made the decision on Tuesday, citing the mourning and the millions in losses caused by Noel, said Administrative minister Luis Manuel Bonetti, in a statement dated November 23. It instructs government ministries, directorates and other institutions to express solidarity with the most needy in the holiday period and reaffirm the Administration’s commitment to the nation.

It’s considered timely that due to the damages our population has suffered from the passage of Tropical Storm Noel, the Christmas celebrations corresponding to this year are suspended, Fernandez said.

Bonetti said the disposition is necessary to bolster the Government’s saving and austerity plans, to confront the situation successfully. He said Christmas is a time to express solidarity, peace and brotherhood with the most needy.

The Government has begun the works to rebuild areas most affected by the storm, including the provinces Barahona, San José de Ocoa and San Cristóbal, where in the last week Fernandez has held cabinet meetings.

Dominican Today, 28.11.07

An intense hurricane season ends today

This year, the nature left behind it a furrow of death in Central America, in Dominican Republic, in Haiti and in Mexico, during the cyclonic season which finishes officially today and which almost did not affect the United States.
The worst moments of the hurricane season, which began on June 1, « clearly was for the Caribbean », said Efe Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist and spokesman of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States, in Miami.
The forecasts of the meteorologists, who had predicted an intense hurricane season in the Atlantic for this year, were accomplished with the formation of 14 tropical storms and six hurricanes (« Dean », « Felix », « Humberto », « Karen », « Lorenzo » and « Noel » ), including two of them of category 5, with winds of more than 250 kilometers per hour.

To face some criticisms as for the doubtful exactitude of weather forecasting, Feltgen supported that it is frequent to note a false idea which consists in believing that all the storms will make landfall.

We said that we were going to undergo an active season, underlined the scientist, to add that the meteorologists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States correctly predicted the number of storms which could be formed in 2007.

In last May, the NOAA had forecast for the season 2007 in the Atlantic basin the formation of 13 to 17 storms, among which 7 to 10 would be strengthened in hurricanes.
Compared to the benign cyclonic activity of the last season, with 9 storms and 5 hurricanes, of which none of them hit the United States, this year, the weather phenomena have affected especially the island of Hispaniola, the Central America and Mexico.

Hoy Digital, 30.11.07

Dominican government gives trucks and buses tax break on diesel

SANTO DOMINGO – President Leonel the Fernandez last night issued a decree which established a mechanism to compensate the higher cost of diesel used by the country’s passenger and freight vehicles.

The disposition aims to prevent a rise in fares and freight costs, after the last few months’ fuel price rise in international markets.

The mechanism, which includes freight, food and construction equipment, as well as passenger transport, consists of refunding the taxes on diesel and the 16 percent on the import parity price corresponding to that fuel.

In his decree, Fernandez says it aims to keep the price increases on petroleum’s derivatives from negatively affecting most of the population’s economy. The decree says it’s applicable to the consumption of up to one million gallons of diesel monthly.

It also determines that the amount of the monthly compensatory transference will be granted only to carriers affiliated with the legally-registered truckers and bus driver unions, through the gas stations which supply fuel to them.

In another article the decree establishes that the Industry and Commerce and Hacienda ministries, as well as representatives of transport unions and organizations, will draft the regulation to apply its dispositions, within seven working days after it’s published.

This disposition is transitory in nature, to be in effect for three months from its release.

Dominican Today, 30.11.07

RD $250 million to repair the schools

The secretariat of Education received RD $250 million yesterday as advance on the special funds assigned by the Government to finance the program of readjustment of the schools affected by the storm Noel.

To these resources, with which Education will cover a part of repairs of the school establishments, one will add RD $100 million which will be delivered at the beginning of December.

One informed that Education will receive in January a third payment of RD $102 million, with which it will supplement the RD $452 that the secretary Alejandrina Germán solicited to president Leonel Fernández to repair the infrastructures.

The most affected buildings are located in the provinces of Barahona, San Cristóbal, San Juan and Duarte and of Espaillat as explained by the secretary of Education by requesting the assignment of funds.

Hoy Digital, 30.11.07

Penn, Schoen & Berland Survey

Leonel Fernández 50%, Miguel Vargas Maldonado 35% and Amable Aristy Castro 10%Leonel Fernandez 02

If the presidential elections took place at the present time, the candidate of the Party of the Dominican Liberation and President of the Republic, Leonel Fernández Reyna, would obtain 50 percent of the votes. In second position we would find the candidate of the opposition of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, Miguel Vargas Maldonado, who would obtain 35 percent, and in third place, Amable Aristy Castro, of the Reformist Social Christian Party, with 10 percent.

These data are contained in the investigation of the company Penn and Schoenn, presented this Friday by the executives of this American company.

The survey also reveals that the candidate of the adversary coalition Cuarta Via, Eduardo Estrella, would obtain 1 percent of the votes of the national electorate.

Clave Digital, 30.11.07

Arrival of the 10th container of Dominico Europea Humanitarian Association

For four years of the association existence, the containers have followed one another to come to supply the various voluntary teams who work in helping the needy Dominican; with all these donations from France, the Association answers more and more the needs of the populations of the whole province: drugs, children’s wears, consumable medical materials for the dispensaries and the hospitals, schoolbooks, toys for the Christmas presents.

Today, thanks to a strong team of French and Dominican voluntaries, our container, charged with 60m3 of all these products, was discharged and distributed in the various sectors of our activities.

Our teams in France are already preparing the eleventh which will be as charged as the last one. Continue to support and to help us, as you are doing it, for the poorest.

DEAH, 28.11.07

Samaná: Renunciation of the Municipal Management of the PRSC

Following Las Terrenas and Sánchez Ramirez, the Municipal Management of the Reformist Social Christian Party (PRSC) of the province of Samaná resigned of this organization, motivated by the position adopted by the senator of the province of Sánchez Ramirez, Felix Vásquez, who recently gave up the files of reformism.

Among the reformist leaders resigning there are former senator Enrique Pujals and former deputy Nelson Núñez.

Through a letter addressed to the president of the PRSC, Federico Antum Batlle, the group explained that the renunciation is « irrevocable » $var , because this organization is in a difficult economic situation for the elections of 2008 and that the mistrust and the lack of solidarity of National Management do not guarantee political work.

« The PRSC experiences major lethargy, the worst of its political history, with a lack of unity and goals on behalf of the National Management of the party, its aspiring candidates to the Presidency of the Republic and of its candidate, who works in an isolated way and not as an organization looking for the Power » $var, they indicate.

These resignations within the party are added to the renunciation of the totality of the directing municipal group of Las Terrenas, of the reformist leaders of the province of Sánchez Ramirez, as well as of elected civil servants.

El Nuevo Diario, 27.11.07

Talks with Shell to buy Dominican Refinery start today

Hacienda minister Vicente Bengoa yesterday said he’ll propose to the president of Shell, during a meeting that will set for today with, that a transition commission manage that company’s 50 percent stake in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery.

In the meeting slated for 10 a.m. with Rafael Maradiaga, Bengoa said he’ll request that he explain the criteria used to set Shell’s price of US $183 million. He said Shell called for tenders which a group led by Arturo Santana won, and that price was stated in that occasion.

On Sunday, the economist Arturo Martinez Moya cautioned the Government not to pay more than US $110 million for the Refinery, whereas former Refidomsa president Leopoldo Espaillat Nanita said the facility was obsolete and that it was better to build a new one.

Mockingly, Bengoa said the Government « will contract Martinez Moya as an adjuster so he advises it, « though at once accused him of speaking without having the specific information on what the company’s shares really cost. » $varI’m going to ask Maradiaga all the necessary information and we’re going to ask them for an explanation, to tell us where the US $183 million came from. » $var

The official said in the meeting with Shell’s executives it will be determined what’s the real value of the shares.

Recently, president Leonel Fernandez said the government would buy the Refinery in order to have the total control of fuel imports and processing.

Dominican Today, 27.11.07

Dominican government’s carrot and stick prevents fare, freight rise

The Government yesterday warned the drivers of passenger and freight vehicles it won’t allow rises in fares, as they had announced on Sunday, though offered incentives which one union leader said would provide a way to “get back on path.”

In order to prevent it, Industry and Commerce minister Melanio Paredes proposed a 50 percent subsidy of the cost to install a new fuel system in their vehicles, and to finance the other 50 percent. He said the proposal makes a fare increase « unnecessary » $var as the drivers had planned.

Although drivers had already planned fare and freight increases of between 5 and 10 pesos, they agreed to study the Government’s proposal.

Antonio Marte, head of the bus owners union Conatra, said the proposal made it possible to « get back on path,  » $varand that they are willing to compromise with the Government’s offer.

Dominican Today, 27.11.07

New tourist association

With an aim of stimulating the development of the Communities and real tourist destinations in the country and of stimulating the creation of an offer which satisfies the request with best products, the Dominican Association of Real Tourist Companies (Adeti) was created.

The president of the organization, Juan Bancalari, said at the time of the opening speech, that the creation of the association obeys a need for defending and for representing « with dignity » $varthe interests of the sector, in front of the society and the official organizations.

Bancalari defended the laws of tourist emulation, to which he allotted the fact of being the pillar of the real tourism growth in the last few years.

« We want to promote the Dominican Republic at the national and international level, for its conditions of real tourist destination of world quality, and to promote the development of human resources to raise the quality of the offer » $var, he explained.

The Association is represented by the leaders of various hotel projects, among whom: Frank Rainieri, of Punta Cana; Alfonso Paniagua, of Costasur Dominicana; Jesus Rodríguez Sandoval, of Guavaberry Golf; Ricardo Hazoury, of Cap Cana; Joan Glacinty, of Tenedoras Las Terrenas.

El Caribe, 26.11.07

IMF guarantees stability, Dominican industrialists say

The Herrera Industries Association (AEIH) and the Federation of Industries (FAI) urged the Government continue with some type of agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to deal with the new internal and external economic realities.

They said in that manner it’s a guarantee the authorities would be under continued economic stability and confidence next year, the current administration’s main accomplishment.

In a joint statemet, the business organizations said the petroleum crisis, the financial storm which lashes the United States with threats of inflation, Tropical Storm Noel’s effects and the electoral year can create adverse conditions in Dominican Republic which requires strong discipline in the handling of public funds. They said that starting with the country’s evident institutional weaknesses a shoring-up is required to overcome those threats and an agreement with the IMF is an adequate step in that regard.

” Although the country can walk alone, after having surpassed the 2003 and 2004 crisis with the IMF’s help, it’s no less certain that in the difficult conjunctures approaching, the international financial organism can be a good support, a guarantee that things will continued going well, ” they said.

Dominican Today, 25.11.07

Opinions center on price of Shell’s stake in Dominican Refinery

The country’s need to build a new petroleum refinery to meet local demand and the Government’s effort to buy the Shell company’s shares at no more than US $110 million, have expanded the debate into the heated topic.

National Energy Commission president Arístides Fernandez Zucco yesterday said the country’s preferential geopolitical position gives it an advantage to export finished products, which would be obtained if it had a refinery whose capacity is greater than the existing one.

Meanwhile, the experts Jose Luis Moreno San Juan and Conrado Depratt said the Refinery’s expansion isn’t possible, and its former president and opposition PRD party leader, Arturo Martinez Moya, cautioned that the State shouldn’t pay more than US $110 million for Shell’s stake.

Dominican Today, 25.11.07

Samaná: Cruising and tourists

Cayo Levantado, Samaná – The Norwegian Pearl Cruiser arrived at quay on Sunday with around 2.600 passengers.

In high season, this port hopes to receive more than 110 boats, represented by 12 of the 16 most prestigious cruising companies of the world.

The company which coordinates the arrival of cruising is Bahía Cruise Service.

This year the arrival of 70.000 tourists by this way is awaited.

Diario Libre, 23.11.07

Dominican Police begins Christmas with Order Plan

The Dominican Police today began the Christmas with Order Plan, aimed at giving citizens a peaceful holidays with more patrols in residential, tourism and commercial areas.
Police chief Rafael Guzmán said to assure the Plan’s effectiveness, an experienced team of police officers was designated to pursue, prevent and confront any criminal actions, with the number of agents needed.
The official, speaking in the Police Headquarters’ esplanade, instructed the hundreds of agents and senior officers present, to work actively so the citizens can all realize their activities with the protection required.
He said the Plan includes the assignment of more police in the country’s main airports, roads and highways.
« When you are on duty you must remember to use force at the proper moment, but remembering that your mission is to control the bad conduct of the citizens,  » $varsaid Guzmán.
He warned criminals that the police agents will be in the streets and asked the media’s cooperation in the war on crime. He said there must be reciprocal respect between the police and the press.

Dominican Today, 23.11.07

Dominican Telecom chief says cable companies can develop projects in rural towns

Cable companies which want to expand their businesses will be able to develop « convergent services » $varproje cts in rural communities, by providing not only TV channels but also telephone and Internet services and calling centers.

Dominican Telecomm Institute (Indotel) president Jose Rafael Vargas said three companies are already laying optic fiber cables to provide television, telephone and Internet services in the towns where they operate. « We are pleased that three companies we have put under the management of the engineer (Peruvian expert) Edwin San Roman which are laying optic fiber cables in different communities of the country. » $var

He said these services would even benefit places where technological salons, digital and informatics training centers have been inaugurated, such as Tenares, Gaspar Hernandez, in Salcedo province, and in other zones of the Northern Mountain range.

Dominican Today, 23.11.07

The Caribbean must join to fight global warning, Gore says

The islands that depend on pristine beaches to attract tourists face an economic disaster from climatic change and must come together to persuade larger nations to fight the greenhouse effect caused by the industrial pollution, said the former vice president of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize Al Gore.

In statements made yesterday in a conference on the environment, Gore said the melting of the polar ice cap and an increase in sea levels would cause erosion and other problems in Caribbean countries.

He suggested a collective lobbying to force the large countries to reduce the discharges of industrial gases. « History has shown that small groups of people have always changed the world,  » $varsaid the 2007 Nobel Prize laureate.

Dominican Today, 22.11.07

DR received 3 million visitors in 10 months

Three million 562 thousand 590 passengers were recorded in the four international airports between January and October 2007, including more than 50% of European, American, Porto Rican tourists and other nationalities.

In ten months, 329 thousand 618 travelers transited by the international airport Las Americas, users of various airlines from the United States, Puerto Rico, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Venezuela and Panama, among other nations.

The director of the public relations of the Consortium Aerodom, Yolanda Mañán, said that the flow of passengers, more especially of the tourists, records this year a significant increase. She revealed that in 10 months, 1 million 43 thousand 183 passengers traveled through the Gregorio Luperón airport in Puerto Plata, representing more than 50% of Europeans coming for holidays, businesses and investments.

Mañán said that a considerable increase was also recorded in the traffic of the passengers in the international airport El Catey, of Samaná and that during January to October, 112 thousand 578 passengers were recorded.

According to reports of Aerodom, March, April, May, June, July and August were the most active in the various air terminals.

In the same way, an extraordinary increase in arrival of passengers is noted from the 15th of this month, especially tourists for the high season and who move towards the various tourist poles of the country.

The secretary of Tourism, Felucho Jiménez, informed that the number of tourists who visited the country during the first 10 months of this year was more than three million people, of which almost three million were non-resident foreigners.

El Viajero Digital, by Diogenes Tejada, 22.11.07

Venezuela ship brings tar to fix storm-pocked Dominican roadways

Public Works minister Víctor Diaz Rúa said a ship with 4 million gallons of AC-30 (asphalt) will arrive from Venezuela this Sunday, to continue with the National Paving Plan.

He said the paving will continue the country’s avenues, highways and roads in the different provinces affected by Tropical Storm Noel’s flooding. In Santo Domingo, the storm’s rains caused potholes and cracks in most thoroughfares.

He said problems with the ship of the supplier of AC-30, the main component in the material used to fill potholes and repave streets and highways, have been solved and repaving will resume in the next few days.

The Public Works chief said AC-30’s supply to the country is part of the Petrocaribe agreement with Venezuela.

Strong waves and gust winds on the Atlantic coast and Bay of Samaná

The National Office of Meteorology forecasted yesterday that downpours and electrical storms will continue over a great part of the country, being more frequent and intense on the North, North-East, South-east and the valley of Cibao areas, because of the influence of a surface zone of low atmospheric pressure, which is stationary on the Southern littoral of the country.

It also informed that a frontal system situated in the North of Cuba quickly moved, and than associated to a low pressure in water of the North Atlantic Ocean, it will influence as from Wednesday the maritime conditions in the Atlantic coast and in the Bay of Samaná, by causing gust winds and above normal tides level which could reach 9 feet (2.7 m) height.

Diario Dominicano, 21.11.07

Dominican Senate approves US $15M in I.D.B. loans

The Dominican Senate yesterday approved two loans totaling US $15 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (I.D.B.), to be used to mitigate disasters and update the country’s statistical system.

The funds from the first loan, of US $10 million, will be used to fund the national statistical system, aimed at supporting the government’s decision-making through improved production in the quality, reliability, opportunity, availability and analysis of the country’s statistics information.

The second loan, of US $5 million, will fund the disaster prevention and risk management program, aimed at helping the country expand its capacity to lower and control risks derived from disasters.

The operation seeks to assist the government in establishing the essential elements of its national risk management strategy, provide technical experience and necessary analyses for the country to establish a more inclusive public investment program to reduce risks in the near future.

The loan legislation will be sent this week to the Chamber of Deputies, which is expected to pass it given the ruling PLD party’s majority.

Dominican Today, 21.11.07

Japan lifts prohibition to import fruits of DR

The phyto-sanitary authorities of the Agriculture Ministry of Japan lifted the prohibition for Dominican Republic to export fruits towards this Asiatic nation.

According to the director of the Center of Export and Investment of Dominican Republic (CEI-RD), this measure will benefit directly the Dominican exporters, mainly those in connection with the fruit marketing.

He informed that with this initiative, a new door opens for the Dominican exporters, because since 1914 the export of Dominican fruits was prohibited, because of the supposed appearance of the Mediterranean Fly (Ceratitis Capitata), plague which prevented the export of the fruits.

He announces that this recognition will allow that the Dominican production of fruits and vegetables reaches freely and without restriction the most competitive markets of the world, which put strong barriers to the import of fruity-horticultural products coming from infested zones, explained the director of the CEI-RD.

This opens the doors with great possibilities of trade for the Dominican exporters with the Asiatic country, which already showed its interest for some competitive national products compliant with the highest quality standards, concluded the director of the CEI-RD.

Diario Libre, 21.11.07

Bottoms up ! !

The Ministry of the Interior and of the Police has announced a temporary reprieve from the limits on selling alcoholic beverages over the 12 days of the Christmas and New Years holidays. According to the ministry, Decrees #308-06 and 316-06 establish the relaxation of restrictions on sales hours beginning Friday, 21 December and ending Saturday, 1 January. Normally, drinking establishments or eateries can only serve alcoholic beverages until midnight from Sunday until Thursday, and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The press release from the ministry says « Beginning at dawn on 2 January, the decrees will be reactivated in full. » $var

DR1, 20.11.07

Las Terrenas: Renunciation of the Christian Social Reformist Party (PRSC)

The Municipal Management of the Christian Social Reformist Party (PRSC) of the community of Las Terrenas, province of Samaná, announced its renunciation of this political organization, by solidarity towards the senator of the province Sánchez Ramirez, Felix Vásquez, who recently gave up the files of reformism.

This information was communicated by Dra. Mariana Vanderhorst Galván, responsible of the Commando of Campaign in Las Terrenas of the PRSC presidential candidate, Amable Aristy Castro.

While discussing with the convened journalists this Sunday in her residence in Las Terrenas, Dra. Vanderhorst Galván, who was candidate to the town council at the time of the preceding elections, justified the massive resignations within the PRSC.

” As political entities that we are and organized in a party which formerly occupied the national politics supremacy, we see with sadness the confusion and the disorganization in which the party is today and we deplore the lack of a clear policy and of a plan of government which supports the postulates of the presidential candidate” , Vaderhorst Galván expressed, in a communication addressed to the president of the PRSC, Federico Antún Batlle.

She said that this massive renunciation takes place few days after the giving up of the reformists of the senator Vásquez, who is considered on the partisan level as their true political adviser in the North-East area. ” Starting from this date, we will jointly be in reflection with Felix Vásquez and we compromise ourselves to support him in any political action that he considers beneficial for the country” , emphasized Dra. Vanderhorst.

El Nuevo Diario, 20.11.07

Recovery Plan for teaching

The Secretariat of Education will start on next Monday the recovery plan of the teaching lost in the zones affected by the passage of the tropical storm Noel, which will include 700 teachers and 49.993 students, informed the Secretary, Alejandrina Germán.

She affirmed that in accordance with the plan, the first phase will take place between November 26 and 30, and that the purpose of it is a reflection space to raise the levels of motivation of the teachers who work in the educational centers dispersed in the places affected by the torrential rains of the atmospheric phenomenon.

For this phase, the Secretary of Education specified that she will have the collaboration of The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in order to help the teachers to resume work. She explained that this phase will include contents in relation with the prevention of catastrophes, the strategies of risk management, the motivation as individual characteristic and with the mechanisms for the increase of the motivation. She indicated that the task will be supported by specialized personnel of the Department of Orientation and Psychology of the Secretariat of Education and of UNICEF.

Germán said that the second phase of the plan will be started on December 1, in order that the students, who lost teaching being given the occupation of the schools by sheltered families, can catch up with the courses at the time of extraordinary days. In this way, she informed that it was foreseen to implement classes on Saturdays and on Sundays.

El Nuevo Diario, 20.11.07

Warning Automatic System approved

The Council of Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) will approve this week the creation of the Warning National System, which will activate all the Medias of communication when the imminent passage of an atmospheric phenomenon over the country is detected.

Information was communicated by the Secretary of State and President of Indotel, Doctor Rafaël Vargas, who explained that the System will imply the telephone service providers, the national system of radio and television, the National Office of Meteorology (ONAMET), the National Commission of Emergency (CNE), the Commission of Emergency Operations (COE), the Armed Forces and other institutions.

He explained that ONAMET established three categories of warning systems for a hurricane advisory.

First, a message is sent to the National Warning System, which will be diffused, per cellular way, at the zone which could be affected. The phase two is the transmission of information of hurricane warning through all the TV channels and radio stations, in order to, if persons were not informed by cellular, they could be informed by television.

In a third phase, a warning on the arrival of the atmospheric phenomenon will be emitted on all the transmitting stations, so people can adopt preventive measures in time.

Listín Diario, 19.11.07

Rains set to continue across Dominican territory

The National Meteorological Office (ONAMET) informed last night that rains and thunderstorms would continue to affect the country, due to a weather system over the east and north east.

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms were recorded on the south, east and northeast coasts yesterday.

Although the downpours will not be prolonged, the authorities are still warning that flash floods are possible due to soil saturation.

Forecasters say that these weather conditions are likely to persist for at least 48 hours.

The report said that a red alert is still in place for low-lying areas in the provinces of María Trinidad Sánchez, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Altagracia, Monte Plata and San Pedro de Macorís.

There is also a risk that conditions could worsen because an active frontal system over eastern Cuba is approaching Hispaniola.

Dominican Today, 19.11.07

Humanitarian Association continues its operations on the spot

On Saturday 17, all the team went to EL FRANCES, very poor hamlet between Samaná and Las Galeras; around Doctor Polanco and Doctor Helene Piriou, joined by Doctor Maleno and two doctors of the province, we consulted from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm. More than 200 patients could receive free drugs and 58 sight tests will allow equipping with free glasses the persons who need it, in two months.

The drug’s team, Sabine, Agnès, Monika, Capucine, under the responsibility of Anne Garnier, answered all the requests; the clothing team, Michelle and Monique helped all the moms in lack of clothing for their children. Finally Serge Rousset, Bernard and Martin were busy to inform and channel this population looking for cares.

We set up two teams at the sight control around Dr. Hélène Piriou: Dominique, Denis, Juana and Michelle, in order to improve the speed of controls. We still need to reinforce this team (see advertisement in LT7) to be able to test the sight of the 16000 pupils in all the schools of the province and to provide them free glasses (it is one of the priority axes of our program 2008).

The Association invites you on Sunday December 9, in Barrio Latino for its super LOTTO of which the benefit will be used to continue to transport many donations coming from France.

The arrival of our tenth container from France will be subject of information.

DEHA, 19.11.07

TUI touts Dominican Republic as tops in Caribbean tourism

SANTO DOMINGO.- The German tour operator, TUI, in coordination with the Tourism Ministry (Sectur), presented its summer 2008 catalogue, in which it highlights Dominican Republic’s main attraction, as the Caribbean’s top tourism destination.

The company calls the Dominican capital is « Santo Domingo Select, « full of colonial monuments, where tourists can find the ideal and varied opportunity to pass two days » $varwithout beach » $varamid the sun and beach vacations of Punta Cana and La Romana.

TUI touts Santo Domingo as America’s first city and suggests a visit to the Ozama, America’s first fort, and its oldest Cathedral. ” Santo Domingo has a large number of monuments to offer, ” noting the option of a two-day tour with a flight from Punta Cana and night in a top category hotel.

“Dominican Republic, has much more to offer than dreamy beaches and palms, for example the capital Santo Domingo, which is a world cultural legacy, according to UNESCO, and connoisseurs say it’s the most beautiful and oldest city of the new world, ” said TUI president Volker Böttcher, speaking before Dominican and German journalists who attended the catalogue’s launch in Punta Cana’s Hotel Riu Palace.

He said Dominican Republic is « market leader » $varin long-distance travel, and for that reason the company decided to launch its catalogue in this country.

Dominican Government’s RD $4.0B to help farmers recover

Barahona – In a tour of the country’s southwest yesterday, president Leonel Fernandez announced the disbursement of RD $4.0 billion for reconstruction of the nation’s agro industry, affected by Tropical Storm Noel’s floods

He said the Armed Forces and Public Works ministries would clean up the mud from the houses and roads in some towns of Barahona and Bahoruco provinces.

After visiting the communities Uvilla and Tamayo, the Head of State said mud is a center for infection for those who live in those places.

« We are allocating 4 billion immediately to guarantee the agro-nourishment security and the recovery of the national farming sector,  » $varhe said.

He said the Agriculture Ministry wills allocate RD $1.3 billion to assist farmers with agrochemicals, fertilizers, seeds and tilling.

Dominican Today, 16.11.07

The State will buy the Refinery and will promote natural gas

President Leonel Fernández informed the secretary of Finances in order that the Dominican State acquires the actions of Shell in the Oil refinery and announced, as forming part of his plan for the fuels saving, the installation of synchronized traffic lights, the change to natural gas of 80 buses of the OMSA, 2000 vehicles of the public transport and 400 of the Police force and the Army.

The agent also promised advice and free technical support and to grant tax facilities to the companies and the private houses for the acquisition and the installation of effective equipment in the use of electric power.

Other economy measures will be: to finance the private sector for the installation of natural gas pump, a special subsidy for the students of the UASD and that the official vehicles do not circulate the weekends.

Diario Libre, 16.11.07

JetBlue announces a service without stopover between Orlando and Santo Domingo

ORLANDO – The airline company JetBlue Airways announced today that the new daily service without stopover between Orlando and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic will start from March 6, 2008.

El Viajero Digital, 15.11.07

Samaná, a destination for the « Misses »

Cayo Levantado, Salto del Limón, National Park Los Haïtíses, Las Terrenas, the Bay of Samaná, Sánchez, beautiful beaches, palm trees and other attractions specific to the Peninsula of Samaná form part of attractions that the 36 French candidates for Miss France 2008 will visit, whose election will take place on next December 8 in Dunkirk.

Discrete, but rich in natural treasures, the Peninsula of Samaná is characterized by the beauty of its landscapes.

Mercedes Castillo, director of the Tourist Office of Dominican Republic in France, explained that the natural beauties and the tropical climate are ideal for the shooting of four minutes of television which at the time of the conclusion of the contest – on December 8 – will introduce the Misses to an audience of more than 11 million televiewers, on TF1 channel.

« The aim to film the candidates in Samaná is to show the diversity of the Dominican Republic, because the country offers what is very difficult to find in another part of the Caribbean », she says.

As for tourist promotion that the stay of the candidates represents, she affirms that during the contest they will project the images of the places visited by the beauty queens that will be promoted as tourist destinations through the small screen

« The idea is to present new facets of Dominican Republic, going beyond the classical sun and beach, to introduce the candidates in another context. ».

The organization of the event is under the responsibility of the French tour operator Marsans and the Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur).

Approximately 50 members of the Organizing Committee came to the country, among them a group of 15 French journalists who will cover all the incidences of the event and will accompany the queens during their stay.

Mercedes Castillo explains that « the relations between France and Dominican Republic are excellent » and that currently more than 300 thousand tourists come from this European country. The strategy of Dominican Republic Tourism Office in France, a school of communication and of sale, is copied by some other destinations, as for technique of marketing that it uses, she affirmed.

« For France, Dominican Republic is the third destination in quantity of passengers, after the United States and Canada. And for France, Dominican Republic is the long distance destination number 1, compared to the others », she specifies.

She indicates that French people is in love with Samaná and that in fact, to Las Terrenas there are some of them who have been established there for more than thirty years.

Hoy Digital, 15.11.07

IMF mission to Dominican Republic left with no comment

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission that visited the country last week left on Friday without a statement on whether their disagreement with the Dominican government about this year’s fiscal surplus in public funds had been resolved.

The IMF mission demanded that the income budget and public spending law for 2008 should register an income surplus of 2% of GDP, while the government wants it to be under 1%.

Treasury minister Vicente Bengoa recently said that this had led to a disagreement with the IMF representatives, and that a meeting had been set up to examine the issue, because the government needs to increase spending in order to tackle the damage caused by Tropical Storm Noel.

He added that the IMF visit was of a routine nature, as published in a report where Economy, Planning and Development minister Temístocles Montás confirmed that the IMF mission was investigating government officials for the US $130 million Sun Land deal.

The purpose of the IMF mission’s visit was also the eighth and last revision of the Stand-by agreement.

There has been no comment on the subject from the government’s economic team, following the departure of the IMF representatives.

Dominican Today, 15.11.07

Dominican president to announce energy-savings plan Thursday

President Leonel Fernandez will announce the National Energy Saving Plan in a televised speech at 9 p.m. tomorrow Thursday, and outline strategies to confront the high cost of oil, said the Presidency’s Press director today.
Talking to reporters in the National Palace, Rafael Núñez said in the speech Fernandez will explain the Government’s plans to reduce energy consumption, to face the constant rises in the price of oil.
The official said Fernandez was scheduled to speak at the end of October, but the storm forces a postponement of that announcement.
In his speech last week Fernandez reported on the damages caused by the storm and the Government’s measures in that regard, including the allocation of 8 billion pesos for reconstruction.

Dominican Today, 15.11.07

Samaná: Tourist promotion in England

The Secretary of Tourism met yesterday with the principal tour operators of London, associated of the British Federation of the Tour Operators (FTO), the executives of air lines and travel agents, with whom he worked on strategies of promotion to increase the tourist market in Dominican Republic.
Felix Jiménez, who is in London, and takes part in the World Travel Market Fair (WTM), stressed that during the year, more than 190 thousand British tourists chose the Dominican Republic like destination in the Caribbean, thanks to the increase in the hotel offers including new installations like The Westin Roco Ki, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Moon Palace, Agua Resort.
In London, Jiménez represents also the country at the Summit of Tourism and Environment of the Tourism World Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO).
He is accompanied by the president of the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants (ASONAHORES), Luis López, Thelma Martínez and Tamara Vásquez, as well as by the under-secretary of Tourism of the Northern Area, Bernardita Abbott, and by the director of the Dominican Republic Tourist Office Promotion in London, Sabrina Cambiaso.
In addition to the actions developed by the Tourism Minister in London, Sectur carries out this month an advertising campaign through which are posted on the buses and on the walls the tourist attractions of Puerto Plata, Samaná, and other tourist poles of the country.
The participation of the Dominican Republic in this fair represents an occasion to support the Creole tourist product among the principal purchasers of tourist packages of Europe, United States, Canada, Latin America, and from the rest of the world.

Diario Digital, 14.11.07

Floods and evacuation

Tens of residences were flooded in the provinces of Altagracia, Puerto Plata, Duarte, El Seibo and Miches following a low pressure system which during the last hours affected various areas of the country, informed the National Commission of Emergencies.
Because of the phenomenon, 640 people were moved in their family or in friend’s houses and others were evacuated by the members of the Armed forces in spite of the resistance to give up their houses.
The zones where the main efforts were concentrated are those of Higuey, La Vega and of Bajo Yuna, where the rains were so heavy that the COE was obliged to dispose a fixed team of rescue and vigilance composed by members of the Red Cross, Civil Defense, Firemen, Army and Air Force.
The most affected places are Salcedo, Duarte and El Seibo, Samaná, Maria Trinidad Sánchez, Puerto Plata and Sánchez Ramirez. Water also isolated some Communities.
On its side, the National Office of Meteorology emitted this Tuesday an advisory of strong rains and storms and maintained the warning for floods, overflows and landslides for the residents of the provinces of Altagracia, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, San Pedro de Macorís, Duarte, La Romana and Monte Plata, for the people living close to rivers, currents, and small valleys, and in high-risk sectors, especially for the villages located in Bajo Yuna.

Al Momento, 13.11.07

Occurred on Thursday evening

This occurred on Thursday evening, towards 06:00 pm, when it started raining so much that the Calle Principal was a torrent.
The Ferreteria of the small bridge started to be flooded because the Rio just busted its bank and Winfer, an employee of the Ferreteria, heard people shouting.
The current was then very strong. He first of all saw passing a cow, then he went quickly at the riverside with a cord attached to his waist. Two children, swept away and rolled around by the current were drowning and Winfer succeeded in rescuing them.
The heroes in Las Terrenas are not always those we believe.

Sylvain MAUFRAIS, 13.11.07

First Fair of Employment and Training in Samaná

SAMANA. – The Tourist Institute of Samaná announced the celebration of a fair of employment and training from November 16 to 17, with the support of the public institutions and the private companies established in this province.
The first Tourist Fair of Employment and Training of the Province of Samaná will be held under the auspices of the Commercial and Production Chamber of Samaná, the National Institute of Professional Technicians and the Town council of the commune, informed Alfonso Rojas, director of the Tourist Institute.
The event will take place in the Chinese restaurant of Samaná.
The companies Luz y Fuerza, Casa Marina (Gran Paradise), AERODOM, Viva Wyndham, Samaná Cruises Lines and ODEBRECHT, among others, confirmed their participation.
« It is a question of joining together on the same scene people offering job and applicants for work and training to facilitate the exchange between the parts » $var, explained Rojas.
He added that on the one hand the companies will have the occasion to pre select the personnel which they will engage for the high tourist season, and on the other hand, the young people, technicians, students and professionals will have the occasion to offer their talents, technical and professional skills to the companies.
He said that the Fair will have a whole of formative activities and information on the job market, its offers and needs, and especially within formation for the year 2008.
It will also include the first congress of tourism students of Samaná.

Fund of RD $400 MM to recover agriculture

The creation of funds of RD $ 400 million for the recovery of the agricultural sector and the hiring of residences for the victims which are still sheltered in colleges and schools, was disposed by President Leonel Fernández, who decided that the next Council of the Government will take place in the province San José de Ocoa, one of the zones most affected by the tropical storm « Noel » $var.

The measures were adopted during a meeting of the National Council of Prevention, Mitigation and Response to Catastrophes carried out last Sunday and during which the agent made the assessment of the actions adopted by various institutions to start the Strategic Recovery Plan of the country.

The Head of State gave instructions to the INVI to include in its budget the setting-up of funds to support the rent of residences.

Diario Libre, 13.11.07

Operation « Christmas Dustbins »

Excellent first week for this operation aiming at improving hygiene and environment in the village of Las Terrenas.

16 tanks in progress of realization !

PIZZA PLAYA, A.I.C REAL ESTATE, VIGA BLOCK, FORT KNOX, COTORA MARINA, FLORA TOUR, L.T.I IMMOBILER, AURORE, HUMANITARIAN ASSOCIATION DOMINICO EUROPEA were motivated to start this idea.

The price of a personalized tank is 1000 pesos and LIMPIEZA PLAYA realizes and installs on the littoral or in the barrios these dustbins essential for the future of our village.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION, generosity and imagination to join this ecological surge.

Hervé BROUSSET, 13.11.07

After decades of misuse, Dominican rivers begin recovery

The companies which extract construction materials began to comply with Environment Ministry resolution 16-2007 that bans that activity in the rivers, by ceasing their operations, giving those water sources the first chance to recover from decades of misuse.

The local media reports that in several provinces the companies which dredged the rivers for materials only work to restore them to their normal channels, and in some cases to repair the pilings of several bridges damaged by the swelled waters from the recent storm.

The ban to extract materials from the rivers took effect last Saturday.

Dominican Today, 12.11.07

The Government looks for mitigating the effects of the storm Noel

The President of the Republic, Leonel Fernández, directed yesterday evening a meeting with the civil servants who have as a task the recovery after the catastrophe of the zones affected by the storm.

Joined together for 7 p.m., President Fernández and the civil servants gave a follow-up to the actions of the Recovery Plan, which was launched in his speech to the nation.

Fernández took note of the actions undertaken in each sector in order that recovery works are accelerated and that they are terminated as soon as possible.

They made the assessment of the infrastructures, education, drinking water, housing, health and agricultural sector.

Diario Libre, 12.11.07

The gasoline premium exhausted during the weekend

During the weekend the gasoline premium was exhausted from reserves of the Dominican Oil Refinery and the majority of the gas stations in the whole country.
But, according to the president of the Refinery, Rubén Montás, the fuel will be available from today, after the arrival of a ship of 55 thousand fuel barrels.
« During the weekend we exhausted the gasoline premium which we had in the Refinery, because of the delay of the boat, but we are already discharging it and as from Monday (today) all the distributors will sell it » $varhe affirmed.
Montás said that in addition of premium, we discharged in the port 125 thousand barrels from regular gasoline, equivalent to 5 million gallons; he thus ensured that there would not be other shortage.

Diario Libre, Tania Molina, 12.11.07

Candidates Miss France 2008 in Las Terrenas

Yesterday evening at 09:00 PM, the 26 candidates of Miss France 2008 arrived at the International airport El Catey-Samaná.
This year, the Miss France 2008 Committee actually chose Las Terrenas as exotic destination for the presentation shooting of the candidates to the election of Miss France.
Each one more charming that the other ones, our small Frenchwomen arrived relaxed with the smile, accompanied by the Dominican traditional folklore music.
This event which will last the entire week was organized in collaboration with the Director of the Tourist Office of Dominican Republic in Paris, Mercedes Castillo.
Sylvain MAUFRAIS, 12.11.07

Tourist promotion on a world level

FLORIDA. – Dominican Republic develops a vast world level programme of tourist promotion aiming at conquering the nontraditional markets and the tourists with a high purchasing power.
Isabel Vásquez, director of the department of promotion of the Tourism Secretariat, explained that this program is carried out in coordination with the private sector and includes the participation to the principal international fairs, in the most developed nations, having a great tradition and a solid and very diverse tourist offer, like the United States, France, England and Germany and other important European nations.
In these countries, Dominican Republic makes demonstration of its music, its culinary culture and its craft industry, which receive a great reception and generate the interest of the Anglo-Saxons and of the people of all economic and social levels.
Currently the country invests 25 million dollars per year for outside promotion. Vásquez gave this information at the time of the first participation of the Dominican Republic in the International Food & Wine Festival which takes place from October 28 in Epcot Center, of Walt Disney World, fair to which participate more than 25 nations which offer and show their food culture, their craft industry, their music, and other aspects, favourable occasion to be regarded as tourist destination.
She underlined the impact of the participation of the country in this festival, by the quantity of people of the whole world who visit Walt Disney World daily. In Epcot Center, the Dominican Republic occupies some stands located at the entry of the principal houses, where it proposes meal, drinks, music and craft industry.
Hoy Digital, by Soila Paniagua, 09.11.07

No croc, Dominican evacuees stay away, fear barrio-roaming reptile

Fear still grips Tropical Storm Noel’s victims in the barrio La Barquita, of the Dominican capital, as rumors of a crocodile that roams the Ozama river persist.

The newspaper El Nacional, which first reported the story on Sunday, reports that several people in the barrio say the saw the croc sunning several times in the last five days, as its unconfirmed presence has been so disturbing that several families refuse to return to their houses on the riverbank fearing the carnivore, which some people say is more than three feet long.

Rafael Holguín, who lives in La Barquita, said he saw the croc five days ago when the animal was sunning on the roof of a house flooded by the Ozama river’s swelling, though others say it’s not one, but three crocodiles which have also been seen in the barrios La Javilla, Sabana Perdida, Las Lilas and and La Zurza.

The odd-jobber Odalís Fortuna said he saw the croc in La Barquita and that several people asked him to kill it, but refused alleging that it’s probably a species protected to avoid extinction. Both men say it was almost four feet long and that it appeared to be severely injured.

Another resident Pablo de Jesus, also said the reptile appeared hurt, because it just scurries away when people try to capture or kill it.

Holguín said he was told the animal had escaped during the floods from an animal farm owned by some Asians, probably Japanese or Chinese, in the upriver town La Victoria, report which El Nacional said couldn’t be confirmed.

The Santo Domingo Zoo said none of its reptiles had escaped and that it didn’t know under what circumstances a crocodile would’ve reached La Barquita.

Dominican Today, 08.11.07

The President announces a Plan to face the destruction caused by Noel

President Leonel Fernández announced this Thursday evening a National Plan of Recovery including an investment of eight billion pesos, to face the destruction caused by the tropical storm Noel.
During a speech through radio and television pronounced from the National Palace, in the presence of the Cabinet members and the representatives of other sectors, he informed that the Government ordered:
a) A moratorium for the small and middle producers concerning the payment of the interests to Agricultural Bank;
b) A release of the payment of the Income Anticipated Taxes for the taxpayers whose productive installations are located in the zones affected by the storm Noel;
c) The application of legal provisions which prohibit all human installations in the river beds and in the zones exposed to the floods and other dangers.
The Agent said that the National Plan of Recovery considers a « massive » $varproc ess of repair and construction of residences for the victims as accelerating the construction and the repair of the schools, bridges, roads, local roads, irrigation canals, aqueducts and electric systems, damaged.

Al Momento, 08.11.07

LOTTO in aid of Humanitarian Dominico Europea Association

For the third year we organize a LOTTO in aid of the Dominico Europea Humanitarian Association. The funds collected will be used for the transport charges of the containers of drugs, medical material, school material, toys and clothing which we get back in France. The lotto will take place on December 9 at 17h30 in Barrio Latino. We need your generosity to be successful so all the donation will be welcome. You can contact Patricia : 809 867 46 89 or Marlene : 809 675 63 93.
Thank you in advance for your generous participation.

HDEA, 08.11.07

Dominican hotel chain promotes Samaná to Canadian market

Over 200 Canadian travel agents were treated to a luxurious tour of hotel management company Marine Amhsa’s Samaná properties last month as part of the company’s efforts to promote Samaná province as a tourist destination.

During their stay the agents visited the Amhsa hotel Casa Marina Bay, and some of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula, including Playa Rincón and Cayo Levantado. They were also treated to a formal dinner, fireworks display, and merengue dance showcase.

Antonio Herrera, Vice-President of Sales and Trade for Marine Amhsa, said he hoped the experience would encourage the agents to recommend Samaná and Amhsa’s other properties to their customers during the coming peak vacation season. Canada is one of the Dominican Republic’s largest tourism markets; in the first half of this year, over 400,000 Canadians visited the country.

Flemming Friisdahl, VP of Sales for tour operator Thomas Cook, said he was willing to collaborate with Amhsa to promote the Dominican Republic as a “wonderful destination” for tourists.

Marine Amhsa has seven resort and spa properties across the country with a combined total of over 2600 rooms, making it one of the largest hotel operators in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Today, by Alexandra Pope, 08.11.07

President to address the nation

President Leonel Fernandez will address the Dominican people at 10pm on Thursday night. He is expected to announce a series of government measures aimed at alleviating the suffering of people displaced from their homes by the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Noel. The President, in a series of visits to shelters, has urged patience and has promised to do everything possible to re-establish normality for the storm’s victims.

DR1, 07.11.07

The World Bank and the European Union will deliver a total of 100 million US $

The World Bank (WB) and the European Union (EU) announced separately that they will deliver 100 million dollars to help to mitigate the devastations caused by the tropical storm Noel in Dominican Republic.

The WB announced from Washington, that it will place up to 56 million at the disposal of the Government of Dominican Republic for an immediate support, which are intended to help the authorities to lend emergency assistance to the population.

The Bank will be also mobilized for tasks of rehabilitation and long-term recovery, with a contribution going up to 100 million as an emergency loan.

On its side, the European Union (EU) informed from Santo Domingo that it increased up to 30 million euros (44 million dollars) the amount for helping to face the damage of the storm. A team of experts of the Bank will visit the Dominican Republic on next week in order to prepare the program of emergency recovery which will direct the tasks of rebuilding in the zones affected by the storm.

Al Momento, 07.11.07

Following the passage of the tropical storm Noel, a delegation of Las Terrenas will go back on Friday November 9 to areas affected by the floods in order to bring some drugs and food there. If you want to give your support, thank you for depositing food (bread, rice, cans and food in general) at the hospital to Sylvio, Nicolas or to the Director of the Hospital before Thursday evening.
Even if you can offer only a small box… do not hesitate ! this last is awaited by those who lost everything…

HDEA, 07.11.07

98 US $: New record for the oil barrel

The oil prices set records after records on Wednesday, when the American crude barrel exceeded for the first time 98 dollars and the Brent of the North Sea exceeded 95, stimulated by the fear of a new reduction in the oil reserves in the United States.

Al Momento, 07.11.07

PLD postpones the proclamation of its candidate Leonel Fernández to December 15

The Dominican Party of Liberation, (PLD) announced this Tuesday the adjournment on December 15, of the proclamation of its presidential candidate, Leonel Fernández, because of the emergency situation in the country due to the effects of the tropical storm Noel.

The Secretary-general of the PLD, Reinaldo Pared Pérez, said that the decision was adopted by the Political Committee of the organization, after a request made by President Fernández. Pared Pérez declared that « the reason for the adjournment is due to the emergency state facing by Dominican Republic following the rains caused by the passage of the tropical storm Noel over the country » $var.

He informed that the President thinks that currently it is not the most adequate moment for political activism and qualified as judicious the decision assumed by the President of the organization, made official by communicating it to the media.

He considers that the gravity of the situation due to the passage of the storm obliges public leaders, PLD and civil servants to devote their time to the tasks of assistance and recovery.

Leonel creates two new state electricity companies

SANTO DOMINGO. – President Leonel Fernández created two new companies in the official electric sector, one to handle the hydro-electric generation and another for the transmission lines, with a joint inheritance which exceeds RD $44,000 million.

It acts of the Dominican Company of Hydro-Electric Generation (EGEHID) and the Dominican Company of Electric Transmission (ETED).

Both companies are strictly official, with legal body, own inheritance and capacity to contract contractual commercial obligations, according to its own control and steering mechanisms, as set up by the decrees.

The two companies, which will be directly dependent of the Executive power, were created within the framework of the reform process in the electric sector undertaken in the middle of the Nineties and by taking into account the General Law on Electricity.

Al Momento, 06.11.07

Hygiene, health and environment

Considering the obvious deficiency concerning the installation of the dustbins in the village, already promised 18 months ago, we will try to improve our environment in a sustainable way installing Christmas tanks in the village and the barrios for 1000 Pesos.
Thank you for your generosity.

Hervé BROUSSET, 07.11.07

Celebration of the Constitution Day reduces to the minimum

The 163 birthday of the Constitution of the Republic, celebrated today, will be described as the Constitution Day less celebrated in the history of the Dominican Republic.
The Standing Committee of Ephemeredes of the Fatherlands suspended the organized demonstrations because of the situation in the country after the passage of the tropical storm Noel, which until now caused 85 deaths and 48 missing people.
San Cristobal, one of the cities most affected by the storm and, which is used every year as principal scene for the commemoration because it was the cradle of the creation of the Constitution, is not in condition of celebrating an event of this nature.
Among the activities which had been programmed there were military and school processions, popular spectacles, concerts, conferences etc…

Project to reform the Constitution

Commemorating today the 163 birthday of the first Constitution of the Republic, three personalities of the country required yesterday to submit to the Congress a project of reform to correct the « weaknesses” and ” contradictions » $va rof the Carta Magna.
Villamán, Member of the Commission of Reform of the Constitution revealed that President Leonel Fernández has in his power for several months the project of reform of the essential aspects of the Constitution.
He explained that the new project defines the aims of the nation as well as the procedures intended to strengthen the democracy, the referendum and the popular consultation.
Castaños Guzmán, executive vice-president of the Institutions and Justice Foundation (Finjus) considered that it ” is imminent that the Constitution is modified because the current one does not guarantee the levels of development and has an out of phase and unbalanced structure ” .
He considers that the reforms cannot be the proposal of only one group, but of all the sectors of the society.
While Balcácer, president of the Standing Committee of Ephemeredes of the Fatherlands, said that the project of constitutional reform is of national interest and that it is necessary to maintain the same democratic, republican and liberal principles described in the Large charter since 1844.
The intellectual thinks that the people do not need a new Constitution, but to modify it including new provisions and to adapt it to current times.

El Caribe, by Tomás Vidal, 06.11.07

U.S., Venezuela lead aid missions to assist Dominican victims

The governments of the United States and of Venezuela increased their assistance to face the damages from Tropical Storm « Noel. » $var
The U.S. yesterday brought a C-5 Galaxy aircraft, that nation’s largest military transport craft, with two Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for airlift and humanitarian tasks. The aircraft join the 14 helicopters and two transport aircraft which take food from the terminal Las Americas to the Maria Montez Airport, of Barahona (southwest).
Venezuela’s embassy said Caracas will donate 500 prefabricated houses and 20 tons of food, water and medicine. It also said it will send a tanker with diesel.
The United Kingdom is also taking active role by providing aid for the victims, and said a RFA Wave Knight aircraft will arrive with helicopters for rescue missions and to distribute food.

Dominican Today, 05.11.07

The Humanitarian Dominico-Europea Association in intervention after the storm

On Saturday, the Association intervened in the sector of Villa Riva, after Nagua, on the riverside of Rio Yuna (at only 1h by car of Las Terrenas), accompanied by a team of the civil protection directed by Doctor Rodriguez.

Our team made up of Anne Garnier, Hélène and Bernard Piriou could deliver food and clothes to those who lost everything in the storm.

In the villages which were completely submerged by water, we could deliver food and drinkable water and we made a catastrophic assessment: in a village of approximately 3000 people, a person in charge communicated an estimate of more than 100 killed persons and of 34 who are missing.

The submerged houses resisted to the force of water but the majority of the inhabitants lost everything including the food-producing cultures.

Several American helicopters of the “coast guard” sent on this zone are always in permanent rotation to evacuate the still insulated villages; a tractor with its trailer ensures the supply of some of these zones.

We were struck by the silence which reigns in the villages that we crossed; in spite of the re-establishment of electricity no music was playing there, which translates the distress of all these disaster victims.

Government guarantees the fuels supply

The Secretariat of Commerce and Industry informed this Thursday that the fuels supply is guaranteed at the national level during the fifteen next days.
Its holder Melanio Paredes explained that in spite of the difficulties caused by the atmospheric disturbances which prevented the unloading of the tankers anchored in the ports, there are sufficient reserves to cover the requests.
Paredes explained that because of temporary impossibility to discharge the tankers, the Dominican Oil Refinery cannot treat the 32 thousand crude barrels daily that it normally treats.
However, it explained that they are working on the quickly repair of the marker of Refidomsa and on the standardization of the operations of the port of Haina to regularize the volume of fuels treatment.
He also informed that the country programmed and confirmed six tankers which will arrive between November 4 and 28, which guarantees the cover of the local hydrocarbon requests.
He said that concerning liquid oil gas, there are sufficient reserves to cover the normal request during next three or four days. He affirmed that the Geogas Company anchored in bay of Haina a ship of 20 million gallons of GLP, sufficient to cover the request for 20 days, while taking into account that the country consumes a million gallons per day.

Al Momento, 01.11.07

Governments and organizations provide help for DR

Various governments and international organizations began this Thursday the sending of material and economic resources in Dominican Republic to help the victims of the tropical storm Noel.
The Japanese government decided today to send of emergency aid to the Dominican Republic in the form of tents, covers, purifiers of water and other materials of a value of 13 million Yens (approx. 112.300 dollars) to mitigate the damage of the storm.
The Office of UNO for the Humane Assistance (OCHA) announced today that it sent a team to analyze the width of the damage caused by the tropical storm in the country, as well as the necessary international assistance. OCHA indicated that the Dominican government spent 2.9 million dollars, that the emergency plans were activated and that the teams of rescue help with the evacuation of the affected populations. The first evaluations of UNO advance that the country will need food, especially for the infantile population, water, brush, mosquito net, mattress, building materials, drugs and medical equipment as well as medical material. Moreover according to OCHA, fuel to conclude the operations of research and rescue starts to lack.
The International Federation of the Red Cross Companies sent this Thursday a plane with 42 tons of assistance for the people affected by the tropical storm Noel, informed the humane organization. A DC-8 Plane of a private company was dispatched by the Pan-American Unit of Response to Catastrophes (PADRU), with at its board articles of hygiene, kitchen, cans, mosquito nets etc…. The International Federation spent 230.000 and 150.000 Swiss franks (194.637 and 126.937 dollars), respectively, to immediately support the Dominican Red Cross and the Haitian Red Cross. The Federation made a preliminary emergency call to the international donors for approximately 800.000 Swiss franks (677.000 dollars) to help the people affected by Noel in Dominican Republic and in Haiti, as indicated by an official statement of the organization.
The funds will be used to help 15.000 people (10.000 in Dominican Republic and 5.000 in Haiti) as well as to the programming of psychological support during the next six months.
Several delegates of the PADRU specialized in the management of the catastrophes, telecommunications and logistics, were also sent in Dominican Republic.

Al Momento, 01.11.07

Noel: 73 Dominicans dead, dozens missing, 62 towns cut off

The number of deaths caused by the Tropical Storm Noel rose to 73, with 43 missing, 62 communities cut off and the 62,428 people evacuated in zones under risk, said the Dominican emergency response agency (CNE) at noon Thursday.
In its bulletin read on television and radio today, the CNE also placed the country’s 31 provinces on red alert, and that 22,758 evacuees have been taken to 110 shelters nationwide.
COE director Manuel Antonio Luna said the floods from the storm damaged over 15,000 houses, 686 of them totally.
The official said the governmental has established an airlift between the southern mountain city San José de Ocoa and San Cristóbal, 20 miles west of the capital, to take dozens of patients who need urgent medical attention to a regional hospital, including two women in final stage of pregnancy.
This morning, COE reported the collapse of 35 bridges around the country.
In a related development, Emiliano Reyes Espejo the spokesman for Indotel, the country’s telecommunications agency, said communication has been restored in the countries southwest region, the hardest hit by Noel.

Dominican Today, 01.11.07

Sunny days may be coming

Weather reports from Puerto Rico substantiate eyewitness reports from Punta Cana where the sun is shining again. The large system that has brought gusts on Sunday and heavy rain through Wednesday seems to be moving northwards and is expected to lift from the Dominican Republic tomorrow. Reports from La Romana and Punta Cana are that the weather has cleared. Meanwhile, Santo Domingo, central areas and the southwest were drenched with rain early on Wednesday morning. Nevertheless, there are forecasts that the day will clear by tomorrow afternoon. At noontime, it was no longer raining in Santo Domingo.
The storm has primarily affected people who travel to work using public transportation and motoconchos, and the poor who live in vulnerable areas near rivers or hillsides. Solidarity is being called for to help those who have experienced flooding and property losses. Practically everyone seems to know someone whose house has been flooded.
See www.tormenta.net
ONAMET says that the additional rain was the result of a tropical wave located to the south of Puerto Rico that is moving at 30 kms an hour. Thus authorities are maintaining the Red Alert for 27 provinces. For the coast, small craft warnings continue in place, as waves of between six and eight feet are expected.

DR1, 01.11.07

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