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Daily News - 25 September 1998

The report on this page is several months old. For updated news on the Dominican Republic and its recovery after Hurricane Georges, see the Dominican Republic One index page and its Daily News section at http://www.dr1.com/index.shtml

Update on the Punta Cana International Airport

Posted By: Lic. José Oliva <[email protected]>
Friday, 25 September 1998, at 3:06 p.m.
September 25,1998
Yes, the Punta Cana International Airport is open to operate all kind of aircrafts. It was officially opened yesterday at noon after receiving authorization from the Civil Aviation authorities.
Three international flights were received and dispatched on the afternoon of September 24, 1998.
Today there are 12 programmed flights coming from Europe and South America as follows:
Condor (two flights), Air Europe (two flights), Air Europa, Balair, LTU, Chile Inter Lapa, Martinair, AOM, Lanchile (two flights).
Temporarily the airport is open from 06:00 to 18:00 daily.
All services are in operation: electricity, water, fuel avjet A-1, Avgas 100/130, control tower, customs & immigration. The only exception is the phone system that is not operatingbut local GTE is working hard to put it back in service soon.
There are another seven flights programmed for Saturday and 5 for Sunday.
Should further informns are necessary, please send us a fax to (809) 541-2286 to my attention.
JOSE OLIVA, Projects Director, Punta Cana International Airport Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

8:30 am September 25
Only 10-12% of Dominican hotels suffer damages

An evaluation of damages of Hurricane Georges to the Dominican hotel industry on September 24 showed that only 10-12% of Dominican hotel room inventory suffered considerable damages. Of the 42,000 hotel rooms, only 4,200 rooms will not be operational within a week's time. Most of the country's hotel rooms are already in operation. The hotel inventory of the country was spared by the hurricane's destructive path that has caused millionaire damages to the Dominican economy.
Fernando Rainieri, a former Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, and international tourism advisor to the Interamerican Development Bank and World Tourism Organization carried out an evaluation of the southern and eastern coastlines and reported back to DR1. "85% of the Dominican hotel room inventory is in operation and open to business," he said. All airports, with the exception of the La Romana airport that is only receiving domestic flights, are open to international flights.
Hotels in the North Coast were not affected and power was restored to the area a day after the hurricane. This includes the area of the hotels from Samaná, Río San Juan (Bahía Príncipe) through to Puerto Plata (Playa Dorada) and Cofresí. Two charter flights with more than 900 tourists arrived today.
Hotels located from Bávaro up along the northern part of the eastern coast are already back in operation. The Riu, Meliá and Paradisus, and Barceló Bavaro properties are in operation as they suffered only very minor damages. The beaches from Macao to Bavaro was cleared and a flight showed tourists enjoying the sun on the beach. Damages to the coconut trees were minor.
The hardest hit areas of the eastern coast were southern of Punta Cana. The hotel most affected was the Punta Cana Beach Resort, Allegro Cabeza de Toro and Club Med which suffered the loss of many of its roofs.
Themost affected hotel was Casa de Campo in La Romana that will need major repairs and should not be operational until the start of the winter season in December. Casa de Campo, the hotel and the villas, lost many of their roofs. To a minor degree Dominicus and Casa del Mar, in La Romana, will also need substantial repairs. Dominicus expects to be back in operation by mid October, and Casa del Mar by mid November.
Boca Chica hotels suffered damages, but main hotels such as the Hamaca, a concrete structure, should be back in operation within two weeks. The Don Juan suffered damages to their roof and beach front terrace and Boca Chica Resort suffered damages to a thatched roof restaurant. Boca Chica was in the hit area, so it will take a few weeks for the greenery to come back and small businesses to complete repairs.

Playa Dorada Update
Posted By: Carlos Dalton [email protected]
Friday, 25 September 1998, at 8:39 a.m.
I'm an American who has beenliving in Puerto Plata {PP] for 2 years. I belong to a gym @ the Playa Naco Hotel,
Playa Dorada, & work out @ 3 times per week. There was little, almost no, storm damage to PP as a result of Hurricane Georges. Electiricyt was off for 2 days,l fro near inexpoicable reasons. Not storm damage, but somebody's administrtive decisions?? IN PP Georges was a mild to middling tropical storm. I was at Playa Dorada on 9-23 for 1/2 a day. The entire complex is in wonderful condition, clean, functioning, & in good spirits. If I were you, I wouldn't consider changing my plans. The PP airport at the moment is the best functioning airport in the DR.

Puerto Plata Hotels eye witness report
Posted By: Grahame Bush ([email protected])
Thursday, 24 September 1998, at 11:21 p.m.
Jack Tar Village hotel, Puerto Plata Beach Resort & in fact ALL the north coast hotels are all A OK. I live in Puerto Plata & was at home all through the hurricane. Yes we had strong winds of 70-80 mph but little rain AND (thanks be to the fellar upstairs) NO loss of life & NO damage to property. ALL appears to be back to the normal tranquil life here.
When you get to your hotels, please be sure to get out to see the town of Puerto Plata and the surrounding
countryside. The Dominicans are wonderfully friendly, warm & helpful. Always joyful. Just saw pictures on CNN (yes we even get cable down here!) where people who have lost their homes are laughing & joking. How they do it I do not know.

Boca Chica Update at 10:38 am
Boca Chica was on the hit route, but reports are that hotels on the beach, such as Zapata only suffered damages that can be repaired in two weeks time. Beach gazebos are gone. To give an indication of how long it will take for the town to get back to normal, tourists and town residents (a large number of foreigners) ignored the curfew last night and were out on the main bar and restaurant street (Duarte) until 2 or 3 am. Water is being trucked in or taken from pipes. Phone service has yet to be fully restored. Trees and signs are downed.

Hotel & Restaurant Association Update
Hotel Association Update from 24 September 1998
The National Hotel & Restaurant Association, Asonahores, would like to inform the national and international community about the evaluation made regarding the damages that occurred by the passing of Hurricane George over the Dominican Republic and particularly the effects on the hotel industry of the country.
The city of Santo Domingo:
The main hotels suffered minor damages and the tourist services were re-established 12 hours after the passing of the hurricane. The city is slowly recovering its normality. Note that Thursday was a major holiday, so hundred did not attend their work places. The supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants have opened for business.
The principal roads and streets have been cleaned, the electricity services in the hospital areas have been reestablished and the telephone services have been working since the hurricane. Las Americas International Airport and the Herrera local airport began functioning this afternoon.
The Boca Chica-Juan Dolio area:
In these tourist areas, most of the hotels suffered minor damages and the guest services were reestablished since Tuesday night. These services include: foods, drinks, potable water and electricity. The telephone services will be functioning in the forthcoming hours. The road to Santo Domingo was cleaned and the transportation is functioning normally.
The North Coast:
Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete was not affected by Hurricane Georges. It is operating normally, therefore the Gregorio Luperon International Airport is working.
The Northeast Coast:
Samana-Macao-Cortecito-Bavaro was practically not affected by Hurricane Georges and all the hotels are operating normally.
Punta Cana airport:
The runway was cleaned and in the airport operations were functioning normally.
Punta Cana-Bayahibe-La Romana:
This area is the most affected by Hurricane Georges. Most of the tourists have been moved to the city of Santo Domingo. The damages occurred in this area will be fixed in the next 30 to 60 days. The telephone services have not yet been reestablished.

La Romana Update
Posted By: Arnold van Welie <[email protected]>
Thursday, 24 September 1998, at 8:00 p.m.
News from MOntreal about La Romana Just got word from my family in Santo Domingo who went to La Romana today. They got there.... The road is OK but obviously full of debris from fallen trees and lamp/electical posts. As you enter in La Romana the basketball stadium lost all the roof and basically the skeleton if the only thing standing. As you reach Casa de Campo the Free Zone shows heavy damage. The hotel is devastaded the "casitas" located at the entrance of the hotel are all heavely damaged the front desk and club house are damaged the lago grill "Hoyo 19" collapsed. Golf villas are missing their roofs in the mayority of the cases. The old Hotel Romana lost part of their roof all the residences of the Central Romana people are quite damaged. My bother and his wife (thank god they are OK) lost part of their roof. The Centrel Romana school is quite damaged they estimate @ 1 month to repair. At the airport the Hangar collapsed the control tower is gone.

Update on Casa de Campo, LaRomana
Posted By: Chris Welles <[email protected]>
Thursday, 24 September 1998, at 6:23 p.m.
News is not good at all. Many houses on Punta Minitas have reported to be totally destroyed (I will not put on those names to protect privacy). I have been told the 3rd fllor of the hotel was blowen off as was the roof of La Romana C.C. Also been told many house on Punta Aguila destroyed. I was told to picture the damage we also saw from Huricane Andrew in Southern Florida in 1994, Casa de Campo looks similar. If you want to call me, I will give you more details as to the home destruction on Punta Minitas.
Chris Welles (978)922-3248

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