Tropical depression hits El Salvador

Alert from ACT International

1. Brief description of the emergency
On November 8, as much rain fell on El Salvador in four hours as in four days of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.  This national tragedy has taken the lives of 120 people and left thousands homeless.  The areas hardest hit are five departments in the central and central-eastern parts of the country: San Vicente, La Libertad, San Salvador, Cuscatlán, and La Paz.  Three other departments – Usulután, Chalatenango and San Miguel – also report damage and loss of life.
On November 9, government census reported 108 landslides, 209 destroyed houses and 1835 damaged houses, and 18 bridges affected.  In total, 118 temporary shelters have been set up where 13,680 people have taken refuge. Agricultural production is largely affected, and as much as 30 percent of some crops may be lost.
2.    National and international response
The President has declared a national emergency, and national and international resources have been mobilized to respond.  The armed forces have assisted with evacuation by helicopter and boats in three heavy hit areas in San Vicente, on the Pacific Coast.  The National Civil Police is mobilized to assist throughout the country, especially with the provision of temporary shelters.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of coordinating bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation, has already received offers of assistance from several countries. The government has called upon the international community to assist with damage assessment and humanitarian response.  The Ministry of Health reported that it is crucial that diseases are prevented and that sanitation issues be addressed.  The ministry is coordinating at all levels the provision of temporary shelters in schools and churches, amongst other places.  Shelters are full, some with as many as 600 people.
3.  ACT International response
ACT Forum El Salvador, in close cooperation with the round table of churches, is mapping the needs and preparing a common response.  The forum plans to put out an appeal proposal which will include food, cooking utensils and hygiene kits.

Initial Response from PWRDF
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is responding with an initial  emergency response grant of $15,000.

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