Floods Quietly Disrupt Life in El Salvador
October 24, 2011—Flooding earlier this month in El Salvador went almost unnoticed in the United States, yet thousands of Salvadorans lost their homes after seven straight days of torrential rain. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is helping families cope and rebuild.
According to UMCOR partner Evangelical Methodist Church of El Salvador, at least 14,000 homes and 1,000 wells were destroyed in the flooding, which was provoked by Hurricane Jova and Tropical Depression 12-E the week of October 9.
Thirty-two people are known to have died, including several children. “Some were swept away attempting to cross swollen rivers, while others were killed when the walls of their homes collapsed,” the church reported. Across Central America, flooding and mudslides took the lives of 81 people.
In El Salvador, 32,000 people were evacuated from their homes, many of whom remain in some 267 temporary shelters that have been established across the country. The heaviest flooding occurred around the city of Ahuachapán, in the western department of the same name.
UMCOR’s assistance to the Evangelical Methodist Church of El Salvador will help the church purchase and distribute 300 bags of food, 250 blankets, and $3,000-worth of medicines. Emergency funds will also cover the cost of metal sheeting to help families repair damaged homes.
At least part of the medicines will be used to care for flood survivors “who have not been sheltered properly and have been exposed to various diseases in the floodwater,” a church report said.
The church also intends to provide community meals to affected populations. “This will not only provide physical nourishment to flood [survivors] but, also, emotional and spiritual nourishment to those who have been affected,” the report said.