Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rain Damage in El Salvador

As some of you may have heard or read in the news, well over a hundred lives were lost last weekend in El Salvador as a result of the flooding and landslides caused by the heavy rain. Basically, the poor of the country cannot afford to live in areas that are well-insulated from weathering elements, and many of them resort to living in potential landslide areas. While people were still sleeping on early Sunday, the rain grew very heavy and buried entire houses or townships under the mud. It has been several days, and the death tolls are still rising steadily as they search for the missing people.

Even areas near lakes and the ocean were severely impacted. A country club that Geoff and I had only very recently visited near Lago de Ilopango was completely destroyed. One of my friends who lives by the beach said that although her particular area (El Tunco) is fine, just down the street (within about a 15-minute drive), other people had to swim to get out of the shoulder-high muddy water. Those people lost their homes and all of their clothes and their belongings in the flood. The situation is very sad, because I am not sure whether there is a plan yet for helping the people rebuild their homes, beyond providing them with immediate relief. One of the American teacher's maid lost her nephew, her nephew's wife, and their 7-year-old child in the flood. Her own home is destroyed as well, but her family's lives were spared as they had been staying with her sister for the weekend.

The irony is that our lives, for the most part, were relatively unaffected by the rain. Geoff and I were out late last Saturday at the Marine Birthday Ball held by the US Embassy, and didn't get home until about 5am Sunday. Sure, it was raining for a good amount of the time, but we had no idea the extent of damage that the rain had done to other people's lives until we woke up with a slight hangover and read the news Sunday afternoon. It's just another example of the vast disparity between the social classes here in El Salvador...

Please keep El Salvador's victims in your prayers. If you wish to help out in some way financially, Tim's blog post lists some options for donations at the bottom.

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