Hurricane Stan may have physically disappeared but the considerable damage and uncertainty it left behind is still visible. In El Salvador, thousands of people remain away from their homes, many of them in shelters and uncertain about the future.
El Salvador was seriously affected by flooding and landslides that left complete structures collapsed and entire communities under mud. Overflowing rivers left communities without any means of communication. Thousands of evacuees were transported to safe shelters.
Stan was not the only disaster to hit El Salvador: the volcanic activity of the Ilamatepec volcano exacerbated the situation. Both natural disasters have forced this country to develop specific and immediate plans of action to help meet the immediate and long-term needs of those affected.
“El Salvador Red Cross efforts continue in the affected areas,” comments Noé Monterrosa, General Director of the Salvadorean Red Cross. “Thousands of Salvadorians are still in need of immediate aid. Many of their homes were completely destroyed and others have nothing.
“To maximise efficiency, our work is coordinated with that of mayors and departmental committees together with our affiliates in each Department.”
Thousands of victims from the Departments of Achauchapan, Cabañas, Chalatenango, Cuscatlan, La Libertad, La Paz, La Unión, Morazan, San Miguel, San Salvador, San Vicente, Santa Ana, Sonsonete and Usulutan await assistance from local authorities and donors. Many are currently receiving daily food and humanitarian aid in Red Cross shelters.
Rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts are currently underway in collaboration with ECHO, the Spanish Red Cross, The Spanish International Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Red Cross.
“Primary needs assessments have already been carried out and have highlighted important needs that must be met in the coming months,” says Monterrosa.
Indeed, the sheer amount that remains to be done for the most vulnerable people of El Salvador means that the initial emergency appeal of CHF 487, 000 issued on 6 October has been revised.
The new appeal, issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is for CHF 1,288,347. The money will be used to support 21,000 victims of the floods and volcanic activity (an estimated 4,200 families) for six months.
“We hope this will help relieve the effect of Stan in our country in the long-term,” explains Monterrosa. “We are all doing everything we can and will keep working to support our fellow citizens.”