A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster Heavy precipitation in El Salvador began on 12 October 2019 due to the influence and combination of a lowpressure system of 1,007 millibars on Salvadorean coast and 1,010 millibars on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. This situation led to an abundant amount with its origin over the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea and in the Intertropical Convergence Zone off the coast of Central America. Unofficial figures report that at least four people have died following the heavy rain that caused the current flooding and landslides in the country. According to media reports, three people died in separate incidents after they were swept away by floodwaters in the departments of Morazán, La Paz and La Unión; the fourth victim died as a result of wind damage in San Miguel.
On 13 October, the National Civil Protection System of El Salvador issued a nation-wide green alert. The Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRCS) activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). By 14 October, Civil Protection issued warnings of rainfall and isolated thunderstorms, with increased risk in areas of high vulnerability to landslides.
The continual rain led caused rockslides and landslides, as well as falling trees and collapse of slopes, which disrupted transit on highways and roads.On 14 October, the National Civil Protection system upgraded the nation-wide alert to yellow and issued an orange alert for the Bajo Lempa region, which covers the departments of Usulután and San Vicente (along the Lempa River delta plain, between the Salvadoran Pacific coastline and the Littoral highway). 3 The municipal level Civil Protection Commissions were activated.
On 15 October, the accumulative amount of rain required the release of water from hydroelectric dams, which increased flood risks in the areas of Bajo Lempa, especially in the municipalities of Tecoluca in San Vicente and Jiquilisco in Usulután department. The National Civil Protection system issued another alert extending the orange alert to areas of the Volcanic Range areas near the Bajo Lempa areas.
The heavy rains led to a landslide and 70-metre deep hole in the Santa Lucia, Ilopango municipality in the San Salvador department. Hundreds of people were evacuated. Six homes were destroyed and around 400 others (of which 103 have been declared uninhabitable by Civil Protection) are at risk of collapse. To date, these households have received scarce support to address their short-term housing needs.
There are currently no official figures regarding the number of people affected by the floods in the country. Civil Protection has released initial figures for the municipalities of Zacatecoluca, Jiquilisco, Puerto El Triunfo, Tecoluca, San Luis La Herradura, Sonsonate, Tecoluca, San Salvador, La Libertad and Cuscatlán. This DREF operation is focused on the municipalities of Jiquilisco, Ilopango, Tecoluca, Puerto El Triunfo, and Puerto Parada. Other affected municipalities are not included in this DREF operation since authorities are responding to the humanitarian needs and further SRCS support is not needed.
This operation will provide support to the families that remain evacuated from their homes. Some families located in the coastal area known as Bajo Lempa (Usulután and San Vicente departments) have also been affected. These families are currently staying at evacuation centres. There are an additional 103 families who were affected by the landslide in Ilopango, San Salvador and were evacuated (currently living with neighbours and family members); they remain unable to return to their homes as these were declared uninhabitable.