Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Death in the Dominican Republic

For my column for ExpatFocus this month I talked about death here in the DR. Why it happens more often and what happens when it does. You can read the full article here, but here is a short excerpt.

I have been to more funerals since I have been here, and seen more dead people  than ever before in my life. There is no stigma against photos of dead bodies in all their gory glory, and if you do an image search for anything on the internet, whatever it is, from chocolate to beaches, from recipes to transport, you will find pictures of dead bodies. As well as people dying due to medical issues, there are also the tropical diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue which claim victims every year, in addition to people drowning in the ocean and rivers. 

Then there are the violent deaths. Dominican Republic has a homicide rate of 31 deaths for every 100,000 people. This compares to the USA at 4.8 and the UK at 1.23. As you can see there is a massive difference. There is a similar picture with traffic related deaths. The DR has 17.3 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population per year, compared to the US at 12.3 and the UK at 3.59. If we look at the figures per 100,000 miles driven per vehicle, the DR is 140.7 traffic deaths, the USA 15 and the UK 7. Incredible really and probably something to do with the lack of law enforcement on using well maintained vehicles, wearing helmets on motorbikes, not drinking and driving, wearing seat belts and having a driving licence.


  1. Gosh, massive difference! As you say more law enforcement should be a priority, specially to avoid the traffic related deaths.

  2. Yes Sami, it is crazy driving here! And if you are in an accident there are rarely ambulances to take you to hospital which doesn't help either.

  3. A pesar de eso, yo diría que cuando uno sabe manejar aquí en RD, puede manejar en cualquier otro país !

    1. Eso es la verdad Heloise. That's the truth, if you can drive here you can drive anywhere! Just keep eyes open for goats, cows, motoconcho drivers, potholes and people on the wrong side of the road!