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El Salvador floods: Eyewitness accounts

Ilopango, east of San Salvador
Floods and landslides in El Salvador have left more than 130 people dead

BBC readers in El Salvador describe their experiences of the devastating floods and landslides, which have killed at least 130 people and have left about 7,000 living in shelters.


Accounts from Monday:

The damage here in San Salvador is highly visible, with many of the roads damaged and blocked and there is severe flooding. You can't get through some areas by car. Today, I only drove a short distance from home to work, but could still see much of the damage. Solidarity is indispensable at the moment. People are gathering to offer help in any way by donating clothes and food. We are being told the death toll has now reached 200, with 7,000 people affected overall so far. Many have lost their families and houses. The government has declared an "orange alert" and an emergency plan has been put in place. Today the government will meet to discuss whether to declare what we call a "state of calamity" in the areas worst affected, such as San Vicente, La Libertad, Cuscatlan and here in the capital.

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

It is also time for the government to seriously put in place a prevention plan against all these kinds of catastrophes. El Salvador cannot continue to be so vulnerable, especially in the poorer areas, which are usually the worst affected. It is not the first time a catastrophe like this has happened here. Rain and earthquakes are the types of events we should be prepared for at any time. I fear that in places like Verapaz, Tepetitan and San Vicente, there could be many more deaths as the landslides have destroyed many houses there.
Maziel Rodriguez, San Salvador, El Salvador

I live in San Salvador and I am devastated to see the destruction caused here. The worst-hit areas are quite close to the capital, in small peripheral towns such as Aguilares and Apopa. About 100 houses in Aguilares were devastated by the floods, which arrived so suddenly on Saturday night. Apparently more rain fell in four hours than during the whole of hurricane Mitch [in 1998]. I pray for the many people affected by the rains and for the emergency services.
Andrew York, San Salvador, El Salvador

The official death toll will probably rise when authorities manage to gain access to areas surrounding the towns of Verapaz, Guadalupe and Tepetitán which are all located on the slopes of the Chichontepec volcano in the central department of San Vicente. An area of around 8 km2 was covered by rocks, mud and debris from the volcano and many hamlets and houses have completely disappeared.

Elsewhere there has been severe destruction all along the course of the Acelhuate river which runs through San Salvador and then flows north to lake Suchitlán. At least six bridges have been swept away, blocking important roads and many landslides have interrupted traffic on major and secondary roads, leaving communities without any means of communication. There is also severe flooding along the lower reaches of the river Jiboa in the department of La Paz, near to the international airport at Comalapa.
Derek Spranger, San Salvador, El Salvador

map

Fortunately, no damage has occurred in the main town of San Miguel, 140 km east of San Salvador, although there are some reports of flooding in the lower areas near Rio Grande, the largest river near town. For most people here the storm has been mostly an inconvenience, but as more news trickles in we may learn of more people and infrastructure affected.
Norm, San Miguel, El Salvador

I live in the capital city, here is not as bad as in the other provinces, but it is still bad, there is a need of help for so many people who have become homeless due to the rains. The weather now is fair, but is still raining, there are many collapsed streets and bridges, and a lot of cities are isolated. I would like to say, any help is welcomed.
Adriana K , San Salvador, El Salvador

The rains have been frequent and heavy the past few days, causing major flooding in the streets, but especially noticeable in the river running parallel to town. Last night the river visibly swelled and quickened and we were able to see full trees floating by to the ocean. This morning we helped rebuild the foundation of the riverside hostel we're staying at because the river had damaged it quite severely. Several large boulders and trees have been deposited along the beach as well.
Jaymes Kine, Playa El Tunco, El Salvador

Accounts from Sunday:

I arrived in El Salvador Saturday 31 October. The rains have been very heavy the last few days in particular all night Saturday, when most of the damage seems to have happened. As usual it's the poor people who have suffered the most, bridges are down, houses destroyed, at least today we have only had a little rain.
Robert Harrison, Cuyultitan El Salvador

My family resides in the city of Guadalupe where a lot of the damage was done, most of my family is OK but their house is not and one of my uncles is missing.
Ana, Guadalupe, San Vicente

It has been raining for three days straight! The city itself is actually fine, but the rural areas are being hit hard. The rain has literally just stopped and we're waiting to see if that is it.
Philip Moore, Santa Tecla, El Salvador

There has been not-so-heavy but non-stop showers for the past five days. Fortunately, it has now reached a state of sun and warm weather.
Jose, El Salvador



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