We’re nearing the end of rainy season, which usually finishes around the end of October. Instead of winding down slowly, rainy season actually picks up, often turning into a furious finale, leaving people in knee-deep waters on its way out. The rains that have been falling almost nightly for the past 5+ months have saturated the ground, and when the last storms arrive, there’s nowhere for the water to go. We have a series of colored ‘alerts’ starting with green, which is just normal rain, and progressing to yellow and orange, and then to red, the highest climate alert here.
This week we reached ‘alerta Naranja y alerta Roja’ or Orange and Red alerts, in numerous areas of the country. A Temporal (storm) started Monday night, and the rain kept falling. And falling. And falling. And falling. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights I came home to no electricity, and we cooked by candlelight. Tuesday night as I drove up the mountain, just before the hospital I saw a man perched up high on an electric pole, big electric truck below, making repairs. The street lights were all on up to where he stood a-fixing, and after I drove past, it all went black. Streetlights. Houses. Everything. Night everywhere. When it did not stop raining all Tuesday day and overnight into Wednesday, I had that chilling ‘oh no’ feeling this would not turn out well for some people in El Salvador. Sure enough, our ‘lights out’ problem was minor compared to many. Major flooding has occurred and the areas hit hardest were Ahuachapan and Usulutan.
Here are the statistics as of tonight, Thursday October 13, 2011:
- 4 people have died so far due to the flooding during this Temporal
- Over 4,000 people have been evacuated
- The Arce Bridge, which connects El Salvador and Guatemala in La Hachadura was washed out, leaving the frontier crossing and bridge impassible. Noticias.net story on the Arce Bridge in Hachadura, with pics
“El Río Paz ha socavado el puente Arce, en el paso fronterizo de La Hachadura, lo cual afecta la salida y entrada de todo tipo de transporte hacia Guatemala por este lugar.”
The Paz river has taken the Arce Bridge, at the frontier crossing of Hachadura, which affects the exit and entrance of all type of transport to Guatemala from here.
The Melara bridge, on the major Central American Highway number 2, was washed out in November 2009 due to the storm Ida and was out of service for over a year. They finally get the dang thing fixed, it’s been less than a year, and now another major bridge we need in CA for commercial transport is now out of commission! And supposedly it’s in Guatemala’s hands to fix it (and they’re poorer than us, so go figure).
- The mayor of San Francisco Menéndez himself had to be rescued during the flooding.
“Ahuachapán: Rescatan a alcalde de San Francisco Menéndez y acompañantes. Narciso Ramírez, se encontraba tratando de rescatar a lugareños del caserío San Marcos y cantón La Hachadura.”
Ahuachapán: the mayor of San Francisco Menéndez and companions rescued. Narciso Ramírez was trying to rescue natives of the San Marcos neighborhood and the town of La Hachadura.
School classes were suspended in 8 Departments of the 14 in the country, starting today (Thursday) and will resume on Monday. Distractions to studies may continue longer in hard hit areas, as schools there are being used as shelters.
The Good News? The rain appears to have let up. Right now, it is not raining where we live in Los Planes, and hasn’t since 4 hours ago. This will be relief to many.
The word to describe flooding in Spanish is especially fitting in times like these in El Salvador: Inundación. We are Inund-ated with water.