Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Landslides in El Salvador
Geneva, 1st October 2013
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
The tropical storm affecting Central America from Mexico to Nicaragua during the last 6 weeks, has affected El Salvador with continuous heavy rains. The national government has declared on 29th September an orange alert on the Department of San Miguel, in the east side of the country, due to the high risk of landslides in the Chaparrastique volcano area, involving the communities of Placitas, Hercules, La Cruz and Piedritas, in the Municipality of Chinameca, with around 2,000 families living in this area.
The National Civil Protection has declared that the alert will remain until the end of the rainy season in November. The communitarian leaders are demanding immediate actions, including evacuation of their communities and measures, like early warning systems, in order to avoid the lost of human lives. So far there is no planned activity from the government in order to protect these communities.
2. Why is an ACT response needed?
Immediate actions are needed to save the lives of the people and to avoid that this situation could turn into a big humanitarian crisis. According to the communitarian leaders, the water saturation in the soil of the volcano is sloping and it could cause a major landslide in the near future with the heavy rains predicted. The crops have been affected, and also the work in the coffee plantations.
3. National and international response
The government has said they are aware of the risk and a local orange alert has been issued for the area but they don’t have the resources to provide immediate assistance or temporary shelter to the affected families. No other humanitarian organization or NGO is working in the area.
4. ACT Alliance response
El Salvador ACT forum members are assessing the situation in the area, establishing coordination with local governments and the national system of civil protection in order to have a joint assessment but also a joint response in the prone area for landslides. Also, good communication has been established with the leaders of the communities to integrate their assessment and their perspective to avoid a big humanitarian crisis.
5. Planned activities
El Salvador ACT Forum is doing an assessment to respond through the ACT Alliance Rapid Response Fund. The forum is planning to coordinate with National Civil Protection, the immediate evacuation of the families in high risk and establishing early warning systems to identify the threats of imminent landslides.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America and El Salvador ACT Forum will prepare a security plan to be implemented with this RRF.
El Salvador, forum coordinador
Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (email@example.com)