Starting with Tropical Storms Agatha and Alex, continuing though Tropical Storm Matthew earlier this week and additional soaking rains, the amount of rain falling on El Salvador has created serious problems in many places. As of today, 61 communities were under red alert because of the risk of flooding and landslides as a result of the rain. Most of those communities are in low-lying coastal zones. The remainder of the country is under orange and yellow alerts. Schools were cancelled at noon today.
Authorities count 2,352 persons evacuated, 1,117 persons in 18 shelters. Thirteen communities are cut off by flood water and can only be reached by boat. Three people have died. There is $600,000 in damages to roads.
The impact of the rains on farming will bring hunger. La Prensa Grafica reports that 60% of the bean harvest has been lost on account of the rains. In addition, 40% of the corn harvest will be lost. A reduction in the coffee crop is also expected as too much moisture leads to fungus diseases among the coffee plants.
My friend Beth who works to help a community in one of these high risk zones writes about the struggle:
CEIBA was out in Santiago Texacuangos this morning, after receiving calls from communities all over the area whose houses had flooded, or whom has lost a wall. Mercedes, community organizer for CEIBA, and I met with the mayor this morning to discuss the emergency and how we can collaborate if the situation gets worse. Most concerning is the community of Los Cruces, 17 families stacked on a hillside with sheet metal....
[A] large concave hole has formed under the house in question. The house is now SLANTED, ready to fall on top of the 2 houses below, each of which hold families of 12 people, nearly all women and children. If the rain holds out and the hole gets larger, this house will undoubtedly collapse, the force of which could cause landslides on the entire hillside. What will these families do?
It was a question being asked in many parts of the country. And the rainy season has at least another month to go.
You can see photo galleries of some of the impacts of this week's rain here and here.
You can see a satellite image of current weather in El Salvador at this link.