Saturday, May 21, 2005

Tropical Storm Adrian Aftermath

Here are two inital assessments of Adrian's impact from NGOs in El Salvador:


May 20, 2005

Dear Friends,

Yesterday evening Hurricane Adrian passed through El Salvador. This is the first hurricane in recorded history to hit El Salvador from the Pacific. It landed in La Libertad and passed through the eastern and central regions of the country. The immediate impacts of the storm consisted of treacherous landslides and some rivers overflowing which washed out roads. The land was left waterlogged and at risk for future flooding.

The United Nations, the Salvadoran government's national emergencies body (COEN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) effectively evacuated 16,000 from the coastal regions. Many of those evacuated are housed in temporary emergency shelters until it is safe for them to return to their homes.

The good news is that the immediate impacts of the storm are not as destructive as predicted, but continued rains over the next few days in El Salvador and Honduras could potentially cause flooding in the Bajo Lempa. The Lempa River runs through Guatemala and Honduras, draining in the Pacific Ocean through El Salvador in the Bajo Lempa. Landslides are also still a possibility. CRIPDES, our counterpart which works closely with the communities, is now working to get evacuated communities back home, so hopefully the worst is over. Over the next two days, SHARE will be participating along with other NGOs, the COEN and the UN to more thoroughly assess the impacts of the hurricane. We will continue keeping you posted.

We extend our thoughts, prayers, and intentions towards our friends and loved ones in El Salvador.


The SHARE Foundation

US-El Salvador Sister Cities Network

Tropical Storm “Adrian”
Update 3 – Friday, May 20, 12;00 pm

During the early hours of this Friday morning Hurricane Adrian lost force and dissipated as it came into Salvadoran territory, changing from a class 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, then to a tropical depression as it moved into Honduras.

The U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network, along with CRIPDES would like to thank all of the friends and supporters who have been following the emergency situation that had been declared in El Salvador. Had the storm maintained its classification as a class 1 hurricane, as it was identified by the U.S. National Weather service and Hurricane Center in Miami, FL, it would have had catastrophic impacts in El Salvador. In this country the poor conditions of drainage and housing infrastructure would have rendered the majority of the population incapable of withstanding a full force hurricane.

Since May 18 when we learned of the storm, its magnitude and effects which were forecasted by the National Emergency Committee (COEN), the national organizational structures in the CRIPDES communities have been activated to respond to the possible emergencies and evacuate people from the most vulnerable places.

In the municipality of Tecoluca, of the 16 communities slated for evacuation, only the inhabitants of 5 communities ended up leaving, given that the storm was dissipating. The evacuated communities were those that would be in the immediate floodplain of the Lempa river were the hydroelectric plants to release large discharges of water.

Today the work begins of repopulating the displaced families back to their communities.

While the shopping centers, media corporations and supermarket chains are the clear economic winners, the communities of the CRIPDES and the rest of the country still breathe a collective sigh of relief. Since hurricane Mitch and the 2001 earthquakes, the government has done little to change the country’s vulnerability to natural phenomenons, and so perhaps the most relieved person in the country may be President Saca, who has spent tens of thousands of dollars in advertising that his administration has been the best prepared ever to deal with natural disasters, and now doesn’t have to prove it.

Once more, on behalf of Sister Cities and CRIPDES we would like to thank you all for your solidarity, attention, and good wishes.

Jesse Kates-Chinoy
Sister Cities
El Salvador office

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