I woke up this morning around 4:30am to the sound of rain and I was furious. “Can’t these people get a break?! Can’t this country get a break?!” I started praying that the rain would stop. But my prayers were not answered and the rain continued throughout the day. Or maybe God did answer my prayers but I just didn’t like/didn’t understand the response. Whatever the case, I’m glad I’m not in charge.
The Covenant delegation didn’t get to go to their sister community today because it was raining too hard. So we spent pretty much the entire day inside sitting around the table. Weldon was looking for news articles online and found a good one from the BBC. I’m glad the country is getting a little bit of coverage, even though I think there should be a lot more. So, below is the news story from the BBC, some of the latest stats I’ve found in the paper, and a few personal thoughts I have about all this rain…
Central American floods and landslides ‘leave 80 dead’
The number of people killed by a week of torrential rains, triggering floods and landslides across Central America, has reached at least 80, officials say. El Salvador is the worst-affected, with 32 people killed, mostly buried in their houses by mudslides. The number of dead in Guatemala has risen to 28, while the total rose to 13 in Honduras and eight in Nicaragua. El Salvador has seen a record 1.2m (4 ft) of rain, more than the previous record set by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Rain generated by two low pressure systems, one from the Pacific Ocean and the other from the Caribbean, is expected to continue to fall over the entire region until Wednesday. International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops. The United Nations has classified Central America as one of the parts of the world most affected by climate change. The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people have been affected by the flooding.
El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes said the country was "really being put to the test. The situation has got even worse, it's still raining heavily in various parts of the country," Mr Funes, said in an address to the nation, late on Sunday. He said more than 20,000 people had been evacuated and entire communities had been cut off due to impassable roads. The government launched an appeal for international humanitarian aid, with the rains forecast to continue through Monday. Spain has responded by sending 20 tonnes of supplies, including tents and hygiene kits. In Ciudad Arce, 40 km (24 miles) northwest of the capital, San Salvador, a landslide swept away five houses, killing at least nine people, officials said. Rainfall was so strong around the municipality that rescue operations had to be suspended for a time. Authorities were also moving people away from the area around a volcano near San Salvador, where hundreds died in landslides in 1982.
Similar action was being taken in Nicaragua, where the civil defence agency ordered the evacuation of the slopes of the Casita volcano, which experienced deadly landslides in 1998, after the passage of Hurricane Mitch. Guatemala issued a "red alert" and President Alvaro Colom has declared a "state of calamity". In one of the most recent incidents, a mudslide buried five members of a single family inside a house in Boca del Monte, Villa Canales, 18km (12 miles) south of Guatemala City. In Honduras, 2,500 homes, eight bridges and 29 roads had been damaged. President Porfirio Lobo declared a state of emergency in the southern part of the country and dispatched medical teams to the worst-affected areas. "The worst is yet to come," said Rodolfo Funez, deputy director of the Honduran emergency commission. The rain has also hit southeastern Mexico, where swollen rivers have affected thousands of people, notably in Tabasco state. Last week, Hurricane Jova hit Mexico's Pacific coast, leaving at least eight dead.
Central American flood pictures
Most of the information from BBC news seemed accurate. Here are the latest stats that I’ve been able to find:
Deaths in the region
Guatemala – 29
El Salvador – 32
Honduras – 13
Nicaragua – 5
35,883 people evacuated
439 emergency shelters
10,676 people self-evacuated
150,000 people affected
8 damaged bridges
265 damaged schools
88 schools still at risk
4 feet of rain has fallen since last Monday. Normal precipitation in October is 23 inches.
And now my own personal thoughts from the day:
10 days of rain thus far
9 cups of hot tea I drank today in an attempt to stay warm
8 prayers I said for the rain to stop
7 days of class I’ve missed because of the rain
6 people who called or came to the house looking for food and clothes
5 moldy shirts I’ve found in my closet
4 delegates from Iowa who couldn’t make it to San Isidro today because of the rain
3 times I cried today
2 damp blankets or less is all many in the cantons have to stay warm
And a partridge in a pear tree