At-risk Caribbean island on long road to make hospitals, schools safer

Repeating Islands

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A report by Anastasia Moloney for Reuters.

When hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Dominican Republic last year, 21-year-old Roseli de los Santos pulled people from floodwaters and helped families to evacuate flooded homes.

The country lies in the path of seasonal hurricanes and on two fault lines. So de los Santos, a civil defense volunteer, said it is a question of if – not when – the next hurricane or earthquake strikes the Caribbean nation.

“The more prepared we are, the more we can save lives,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the training and operations center of the National Emergency Commission (CNE) in the capital Santo Domingo.

“We are trained. I know what to do in the next disaster. I’m proud I can help others.”

De los Santos is part of an 8,200-strong volunteer network whose role is to protect 11 million Dominicans and ensure the…

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