The island of Hispaniola is home to two of the largest lakes in the Caribbean; Lake Azuei (or Etang Saumatre) on the Haitian side and Lake Enriquillo on the Dominican side. The lakes have both experienced dramatic growth over the past roughly 10 years to unprecedented levels that have caused vast flooding in the western and eastern regions of the lakes inundating farmland, threatening small towns, and disrupting a key trade transit road connecting the two countries along the border town of Jimani (DR). These events have attracted substantial attention from the Haitian and DR governments, the research community, international aid agencies, and of course the local population being the most affected. Efforts continue to better understand the causes of this rise and then also attempting to forecast what the future might bring.
The two lakes are situated adjacent to each other on either side of the border separating the two countries, with Lake Enriquillo also being the lowest point in the Caribbean. They formed as the result of plate movement 1 million years ago that attached the lower portion of Hispaniola to the main island trapping sea water from the marine channel that in former times separated the two island portions. In fact, both lakes are situated right above the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone (EPGFZ) that runs west-east and also featured the epi-center location of the devastating January 2010 earthquake in the western parts of the islands (Haitian side, close to Leogane approximately 80kms west of the border).