Adding injury to insult…when it rains it pours…waiting for the next shoe to drop…any of these cliche metaphors will work for the general feeling when Tropical storm Amanda hit El Salvador at the end of May into June. The major brunt of the storm made landfall on May 30-31. Exactly 10 weeks, or 70 days after a full quarantine was implemented on top of previous restrictions. After weeks of government bickering over a plan of action, who is in control, changing restrictions, who is breaking the constitution…a weakend Salvadoran population, many of whom were now in the streets with white flags asking for food, was hit by one of the most intense concentrated rainfalls experienced in many years.
Here are some quick statistics:
- El Salvador is a tropical climate that receives rains May through November in heavy amounts. In one week some areas reached 40% of their anual amounts, most of that in a 24 hour period
- Average rainfall was 500mm or 20 inches that same week and most of it in a 24 hour period.
- The highest rainfall recorded was 900 mm or 36 inches.
- 30,000 people were greatly affected and 12,000 are currently in shelters as many prefered to stay with family or elsewhere in stead of government shelters with the concerns of COVID contaigion
- 700+ landslides occurred, 25 on newly constructed highways and 45 on just one small stretch of highway were landslides are common and yet to be eradicated in over one year of construciton
- 17,000 cubic meters of debris have needed to be moved
- 27 deaths reported and 10 disappeared
- 60 total deaths from COVID-19 as of June 10
Many have responded and sent funds during these two coinciding crisis and we are very grateful for that support. We have been able to send assistance to each one of our Foursquare churches in April and May. Overall, our 14 Foursquare churches are seeing the protection and blessings of the Lord. To our knowledge, only one member of our churches has been diagnosed with the virus and they have recovered and returned home.
The Crisis Response Effort:
Currently we have switched to a response effort in the community where our church Plant Hope Chapel San Salvador is located has 180 homes with over 500 families who have been severely affected by the quarantine and have little or no income currently. We have coordinated with Union Church of San Salvador, where we currently rent to bring help to the families that are most despearate every 10 days. Pastors Gary and Sharon are planning to make this help available for several months until the resources dry up or the need is no longer as great. It is always a challenge to not create ongoing dependance, but in this case most of these families have no other recourse, and although the government help does come, it is about once a month currenlty.
80 people are currently being sheltered, having lost their homes completely or they have been deemed unsafe to inhabit right now in the La Mascota community behind our church. They have decided to house them within the community becasue of the concerns for the conditions and possible contagion and the distance to the government shelter that was offered. During the quarantine our access has been limited, but now we are able to freely visit and assist this community during the intermim time because of relationships from our church with the community leaders. Although the damage has been very widespread accross the country (only 160 miles long), but we along with Pastor Gary feel that it is best that we focus our attention on our immediate neighbors. Below are some pictures from May 31, 2020.
If you would like more information about the ministry or about how to donate to the work in El Salvador contact us by email, or the direct link below:
Jared Mueller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Mueller: email@example.com