El Salvador

El Salvador Earthquake Situation Report Nov 2002

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Almost two years ago, January 2001, El Salvador was hit with a massive earthquake that affected more than one million people. Landslides, destroyed homes all over the country and cut off supplies to many of the small rural towns that they were located in. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) immediately responded with humanitarian assistance and began a rebuilding plan to help many of those left homeless.
Although some homes have been rebuilt, the huge task of housing reconstruction and rehabilitation continues to be a major need. After almost two years, many families are still living in the tin shanties hastily erected by the government. These small, windowless, dwellings consist of a tin roof with tin sides, dirt floors, and just one room for 5 to 8 people per family.

PDA has recently began working with a construction non-governmental agency ABRAZO in El Salvador to finish the task of home rebuilding.

PDA, has identified two areas desperately in need of housing. The urban community of Soyapango (a suburb of the capital San Salvador), and the rural community of Rosario de Mora.

In Soyapango, one of the most densely populated enclaves in El Salvador, approximately 800 people are living in a provisional settlement that is extremely overcrowded. In this settlement, there is a critical situation regarding the rationing of potable water. The infrastructure for the disposal of solid waste and gray water has already collapsed due to the fact that the settlement was only capable of being a temporary emergency refuge for two to three months.

The government of El Salvador has donated land for rebuilding in Soyapango and 214 permanent homes will be built in that community. This represents not quite half of the 534 families identified as survivors of the earthquakes. In Rosario de Mora , at least six of every ten homes were destroyed either partially or totally. 150 homes will be rebuilt in that community.

All homes will be rebuilt on legalize lots and will be approximately 430 square feet in area and will have room for a small patio suitable for further construction or a garden. Homes will be built of quality materials since the poor quality of materials was a factor in the cause of the destruction. Recipients will have the opportunity to participate in the construction of their new home and in the rehabilitation of the community infrastructure.