Hurricane Irene actually made landfall first in the Carribean, causing 3.1 billion dollars of damage. Irene caused damage in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas on its way north. Irene landed first on the Carribbean island of Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the US. One person was killed, 1.5 million were left without power, and many trees were uprooted. On Saturday, President Obama declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico in response to a request from the governor, giving individuals in Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cayey, Loíza, Luquillo, and San Juan access to federal disaster funds from FEMA. In addition, the commonwealth and local governments in affected areas of Aguas Buenas, Carolina, Cayey, Ceiba, Comerío, Juncos, Las Marías, Luquillo, Morovis, Naguabo, Orocovis, Utuado, Vega Baja, and Villalba can also access funding to repairs of municipal facilities.
Fema named Justo Hernández as the “Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations” in Puerto Rico. According to Hernández, “damage surveys are still continuing, and additional municipalities may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.”
At least 4 people died, and an unknown amount of people are missing in the Dominican Republic.The hurricane caused flooding, rising rivers, and mudslides, prompting the evacuation of 38,000 residents. Damage reports here are still coming in, as the storm cut off communication from 85 communities and destroyed at least 2,292 houses. People are reporting streets flooded and homes completely covered in water, as the rains lead to extreme flooding. A video of the flooding from AFP, shows high waters and people trying to save and salvage materials.
Luckily the nation of Haiti, which shares an island with the Dominican Republic, escaped major damage. The nation recovering from last year’s devastating earthquake saw some isolated flooding, but no deaths.