November 19 2009

SOS Children's Villages El Salvador helps families who lost everything to Hurricane Ida

19/11/2009 - In the aftermath of the tropical storm that devastated parts of El Salvador at the beginning of this month, SOS Children's Villages has launched an emergency relief programme, handing out basic food supplies and advice on hygiene and sanitation to those families who were hit hardest by Hurricane Ida.

Photo: SOS Archives
The food staples were handed out at the SOS social centre of San Vicente - Photo: SOS Archives

As the cleanup effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in El Salvador continues, the most pressing needs are becoming evident. Basic infrastructure such as power lines, water pipes and sewage systems have been destroyed in many areas and communities are trying desperately to get electricity and drinking water to the most heavily affected areas - no easy task, since many roads and bridges have been severely damaged.  The crops of many families have been razed and there is an urgent need for seeds and basic tools to replace them as soon as possible. The necessary relocation of families from the high risk areas along the rivers entails the need for temporary shelters, as most public buildings that remain intact, such as town halls and sports centers, are already full up with those families who lost their homes in the storm.

Photo: SOS Archives
The sacks contain beans, rice and sugar - Photo: SOS Archives

The most immediate risks right now are malnutrition and disease, as the lack of basic sanitation has created the perfect breeding ground for gastrointestinal disease, aside from the threat of acute respiratory infections. In an effort to prevent malnutrition, SOS Children's Villages of El Salvador has already handed out basic food supplies to the 150 families that have suffered the most, i.e. who have lost their houses or crops. 112 of these families have been beneficiaries of the family strengthening programme of SOS Children's Villages in the community of San Vicente, close to the capital San Salvador. Among these is the family of Alexis, aged four, whose house was carried off by the flood while he and his family were still inside and whose body has still not been found. The food staples will provide the families with sufficient food to last two to three weeks. Co-workers of SOS Children's Villages will also be training families to improve their situation with regard to hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

SOS Archives
Access to some areas is still difficult - Photo: SOS Archives

Hurricane Ida, which devastated vast areas of El Salvador at the beginning of this month, claimed more than 130 human lifes, destroyed 250 homes and damaged some 1,800 structures in the Central American country. 70 people have still not been found.