Heavy rains across Central America have swollen rivers, flooded towns and farmland, and brought death for nearly 100 people and displacement for tens of thousands. Hardest hit was El Salvador, where authorities said more rain fell in the last eight days than during the devastating 1998 Hurricane Mitch. The Lempa River washed over its banks and flooded more than 18,000 homes.*
“Data says the amount of rainfall in the first week is 140% more than during Hurricane Mitch,” remarked Stephen Deal, ELCA Regional Representative for Central America, in an ELCA International Disaster Response conference call today, referencing the storm which has served as a point-of-reference for natural disaster devastation in this part of the world before now.
The Metro D.C. Synod shares a Companion Synod relationship with the Iglesia Luterana Salvadoreña (ILS) and holds this devastated community in prayer. The timing of the floods and mudslides couldn’t be worse according to Deal. “Peasant and subsistence farmers were about ready to harvest this time of year,” presenting them with a double challenge – no crop now, and no money for seeding next year’s crop.
Monitor the ELCA Disaster Response blog for first reports from Central America and learn of ways to contribute to relief work. Also highly recommended are resources from additional ELCA synods in Companion Synod relationships with the region:
- Tim’s El Salvador blog – Respected by ELCA colleagues and recently quoted in the New York Times.
- Greater Milwaukee Syond Friends for El Salvador Facebook page – Mentioned as good source of up-to-date photos.
* Reported in a Los Angeles Ties’ World Now Blog post by Alex Renders, 10/18/11