On May 31st, 2020 the Tropical Depression 2-E has been reclassified as Tropical Storm AMANDA, and is located just off the coast of the Pacific, between El Salvador and Guatemala. The Tropical Storm Amanda, has brought so far between 371-400 millimeters of rain in 48 hours, equivalent to the 10% of the yearly rainfall which may increase; as it is expected that rain to continue for 72 hours . Relief Organizations, like the Red Cross, Life Saving Commands, Green Cross, among others, have been active since the Executive branch issued a yellow alert on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
This Sunday morning, the 31st of May, the Government of El Salvador announced red alert at national level.
According to preliminary official data, the following damage has been reported:
15 deceased people, 7 missing persons 154 emergency shelters enabled, and 7,222 evacuees and 18,622 families directly affected. Approximately 900 homes have been damaged and the water service is cut in the department of San Salvador. Many communities have no electricity due to fallen
trees over electric wires and structures. Needs assessment may reflect the real damaged in the next hours.
According to community sources where members of the ACT Forum have a presence:
People and authorities have requested churches, community centers and cultural houses to be used as shelters. All over the country shelters are set to receive people affected by this event.
Most of these emergency shelters have been improvised and can exponentially increase the cases of COVID19 as there are no appropriate protocols and some of them even combined evacuated and quarantined population.
Seasonal crops (bananas, plantains, corn, beans and vegetables) in general are heavily damaged and in some cases totally lost; further depriving families of food and income sources to face the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Needs assessments would also be a challenge in the first days of the emergency, because municipal and departmental committees are not fully activated or coordinated with the central level. This is a result of the President´s decision to dismantle the national committee of civil protection and to delay the appointing of departmental governors; nonetheless, the communities are organizing to collect the necessary information and support, through their local organizations. So, at this stage working at local
level is essential to set a link with the immediate needs.
It is hoped to pay attention to the subsequent recovery stages in the most affected territories, providing necessary resources and rehabilitation mechanisms.
The main stakeholders that lead monitoring, evaluation and rapid response in the country are the following institutions: The Civil Protection System through, Municipal and Community Committees, the Humanitarian Country Team, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
The National Civic Protection System, which includes the national and military police, along with humanitarian and relief agencies are mobilizing, food, clothing, wash, hygiene and sanitation. While Churches are liaising with shelters, communities, and requesting humanitarian assistance, mainly for food, WASH, hygiene and sanitation.
The members of the ACT Alliance in El Salvador are currently active, monitoring the development of the Tropical Storm and are in contact with authorities, partners and other NGOs in preparation to respond. Staff are preparing to submit a funding proposal to provide a rapid humanitarian response.
Additional information on the ACT Forum member agencies is available on the: http://actalliance.org/about/forums/.
Any planned response will be led by the ACT El Salvador Forum integrated by the Lutheran World Federation, Christian Aid, Sinodo Luterano, and ALFALIT. In addition to life-saving assistance, the ACT Alliance will strive to integrate DRR, preparedness, climate change mitigation and advocacy into its response. After the issuance of the alert, the Forum and the ACT Secretariat will issue concept notes and status reports based on the needs assessments.
Please notice that due to the COVID19 current situation we will set activities aligned with the duty of care towards our beneficiaries, volunteers and staff.