El Salvador Devastated by Hurricane Ida – Support People to People Disaster Relief Via CISPES

November 12, 2009

From the Committee In Solidarity With the People of El Salvador

Dear Friend in Solidarity,

Hurricane Ida hit El Salvador on Saturday, devastating the country, especially the capital of San Salvador and the departments of San Vicente and Cuscatlán. Though 13,000 families were evacuated, there are already 130 deaths reported as a result of landslides and massive flooding. Over 250 homes have been completely destroyed and another 1800 damaged.

Rescue teams are removing tons of mud, rubble and trees in search of over 70 people who are still missing, most from the community of Verapaz. Rescue workers are reporting a lack of equipment and trained rescue dogs, limiting their ability to rescue people who may still be trapped.

We want to raise $5000 by Friday for disaster relief: please make a tax-deductible donation today!

There are some very powerful videos on line (El Faro , CNN en espanol and El Diario de Hoy )

Many in El Salvador point out that the devastation caused by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes is so far reaching in part due to decades of neglectful mismanagement of emergency response and lack of appropriate infrastructure development. The level of destruction is exacerbated by the dire economic situation that forces people to live in precarious conditions; in tin shacks, in marginalized communities, at the edge of rivers, and next to cliffs.

hurricane09.jpgPresident Mauricio Funes pointed to the loss of life and widespread damage as an “expression” of the country’s “vulnerability” to natural disaster, and demonstrated a commitment to a new course for the country. The president declared a state of emergency and the Legislative Assembly acted quickly to provide $150 million in emergency relief, including for farmers whose crops have been washed away. “This time, the government will not leave the people to suffer alone… We have to overcome this tragedy,” said the President.

President Funes has called on the international community to support the rescue and disaster relief efforts; Brazil and Guatemala have been the first to respond, followed by Cuba, Japan, Panama, and Venezuela, as well as the EU and the United Nations.

Hugo Martinez, Minster of Foreign Relations, stated, “The Salvadoran people are not alone, we have had the voice of solidarity from various countries in the world … and this help will be immediately channeled.”

Will you help the U.S. solidarity movement be next international community to respond?

Please make a people-to-people donation today. The CISPES Education Fund (a 501(c)3, tax-deductible organization) is collecting financial donations to send to community organizations in San Vicente and Cuscatlán that are spearheading local rescue efforts.

Our goal is to raise $5000 by Friday. We are trying to move quickly to help get as many people to safety as possible and show the people of El Salvador that we are with them. Please consider making a donation today , and asking your workplace, family, church or community organization to do the same. Please be sure to type "Hurricane Relief" in the description field.

You can also send a check to:

CISPES Education Fund
1525 Newton St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

 Mil gracias.

En solidaridad,

Alexis Stoumbelis
CISPES Executive Director

(photos: Reuters/Juan Carlos and La Sexta Notica)