Emergency officials in the Dominican Republic say at least 22 people have been killed in flooding caused by Tropical Storm Olga. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports many of the victims were killed by waters released from a hydroelectric dam.
Dominican officials say they were forced to release waters from the Tavera Dam late Wednesday to prevent the structure from collapsing under the weight of heavy rains. The decision allowed millions of liters of water to flow into the swollen Yaque River in the northern province of Santiago.
Residents criticized officials for the move, saying emergency crews gave them little or no warning to evacuate before flood waters engulfed their communities.
Nilba Perez, communications director for the charity World Vision International in Santo Domingo, says several communities have been completely flooded.
Perez says some homes have been flooded and may be salvageable after the waters recede. But she says many others have been completely destroyed by the flood waters.
Emergency officials say some 35,000 people have been forced from their homes because of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Olga. The storm also knocked out power and fresh water supplies to many parts of the Caribbean nation.
The storm also is blamed for two deaths in Haiti, and a landslide killed one man in Puerto Rico earlier this week.
In October, the Dominican Republic was hit by storm Noel, which killed at least 87 people and caused millions of dollars in damage to roads, homes and power systems.
Weather forecasters said Tropical Storm Olga is unusual because it developed nearly two weeks after the end of the official hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.