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At a glance: El Salvador

Thousands of families face an uncertain future in post-flood El Salvador

© UNICEF/El Salvador/2011
The force of the Talnique river pulled down the bridge which connects Sacacoyo village and San Salvador City, leaving villagers isolated.

By July Mejia and Armando Carballido

SACACOYO, El Salvador, 10 November 2011 - When Erick Alberto Montano, 25, recently took his son, Abner, to his grandmother’s house, as he did every Saturday, he never thought it would wind up saving their lives. It had been raining heavily four days straight, and upon returning home, they discovered Abners room had been washed away by a landslide. From one moment to the next, Erick and his family were forced to leave everything behind.

The heavy rains that hit El Salvador have left a sad memory in the town of Sacacoyo, province of La Libertad. "For those who lived this experience it was something terrible,” said Erick. “We still wake up at night, fearful. Luckily, we're all alive.”

Quick response

The rapid action of the National Civil Protection System allowed the evacuation of thousands of people across the country, mostly children and adolescents. Their quick response helped avoid a greater loss of lives.

© UNICEF/El Salvador/2011
One of the homes devastated by the floods following the heavy rainfall in El Salvador.

More than 55,000 people had to be taken to various shelters throughout the country. Although the rains have stopped many of them are still unable to return to their homes.

"Now the main concern is to establish priorities for assistance to the country in the medium and long term," said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF Representative in El Salvador.

An uncertain future

The Government of El Salvador and the United Nations launched a flash appeal for assistance, requesting $ 15.7 million to meet the basic needs of nearly one million people affected by the rains.

Erick and his son Abner are eager to return home, but with their humble home still hopelessly buried in mud, their future remains uncertain.



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