Diario de Hoy 10/2/99 flood article #2

Saturday, October 2

Isolated by Misfortune, Water, and the Government

The community of El Coco, in Tecoluca, San Vicente, yesterday received help in the form of food supplies for the first time, fifteen days after it was made into an island by the flooding.  Three "kayaks" came to share their resignation.

Javier Ramón (translated from Spanish for PAB by Dennis Beach, OSB)
El Diario de Hoy

Yesterday, the few inhabitants of the community of El Coco received, for the first time, a shipment of food.  The Women's Movement Medila Anaya Monte, n NGO that works in the zone, was the only organization that remembered them.

For two weeks now, El Salvador has hasd one more island and several tenths hectares less land.The community of El Coco, int eh jurisdiction of Tecoluca, in the department of San Vicente, is surrounded by water on all four sides.

Seventeen packages of food traveled in "kayaks" in order to reach the first inhabitants of El Coco. Several pounds of rice, beans, oil and health supplies came to break, for a few moments, the monotony of tortillas and of the fish called   "zambos."

The rainy season strikes hard at people who make a living by fishing and go about barefoot.  Fungi and irritations of the skin appear and there is no remedy they can apply to stop them. 

Enisled, steering simple canoes, the inhabitants come and go van y vienen along what was once a roadway. Hundreds and hundred for flooded acres int his community make the life of its inhabitants a small odyssey they are sadly learnignto live with.

The continual discharges of the Central Hydroelectric Dam "September 15th" as well as the persistent rains fallnig for the past week have blurred the 4 or 5 meters width that the Coco River had, as they knew it until now, to transform it into a small sea surrounded by tree branches.

Santa Cruz de Porrillo

The Santa Cruz de Porrios Student Center is one of the three schools of San Vicente outfitted as a temporary lodging for the evacuees.

Hacienda Vieja, Pichiche, San José la Montaña and the same community of El Coco all have a part of their populations within the walls of these schools. There are, all together, 126 persons who have been relocated and 734 students who for this reason see their classes suspended.

One of the representatives for those in the shelter is Father Rigoberto Nieto, who was critical of the institutional response and COEN (Committee for National Emergencies) because, according to him, they do not know the people's real situtation.

"The government has given nothing for the common good," he averred, " only for the family level.  It does not have a a wider vision that could perceive the refugees as a whole, as a group."

Nevertheles, the work of the health units has been efficient.  since Tuesday morning, when the temporary lodging was established, the known diseases have been under control.

In the meantime, children and adults rise every morning with the illusion that this day is the last one they will spend away from their home.

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