Evacuation of the Lower Lempa Region
The zone of the Lower Lempa River, in the departments of La Paz, Usulután and San
Vicente, has been almost completely abandoned in order to avoid disasters.
Julio Calderón (translated from Spanish for PAB by
Dennis Beach, OSB)
El Diario de Hoy
Hundreds of families have had to abandon their homes and their belongings and
have been transferred to various schools in the region. The alarm persists in many small
villages and hamlets of the area, where it was foreseen that, with the imminent arrival of
more rains in the next few hours, water levels would rise to a level of high risk.
Some 271 families, more than 700 persons, find themselves lodged in
schools and buildings of various non-governmental organizations. Many of them have not
received any food.
Steps being taken
The immediate response has been evacuation, although the President of
the Republic, Francisco Flores, said yesterday that the possibility of [permanently]
relocating people is being analyzed.
The region to be evacuated may be utilized for cultivation.
Access to the evacuated area is practically impossible, and the risk is
so increasing because of the rising water levels of the Lempa River, that the authorities
are considering it necessary to dismantle the provisional Plateado bridge structure over
the Coastal Highway.
By land, the evacuation of people began Tuesday afternoon, extended
into the night, and uit was necessary to proceed with the rescue of 50 families yesterday
just before dawn..
However, it is believed that 60 [families?] remain in the environs of
the Lower Lempa, and that they will only be evacuated if the water level keeps rising,
since they reside in a zone of higher elevation.
Present in the area to intervene in case of possible emergencies as the
day went on were members of the Salvation Army, the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES) and the
national Civilan Police (PNC).
Yesterday around the area it did not rain with the intensity and
frequency of previous days, but that same wave of rain has affected Honduras. There
various Honduran rivers converge with waterways from El Salvador which empty into the
Pacific Ocean by way of passage through the rivers of Goasorán in Morazán, the Grande in
San Miguel, and the Lempa, which divides Usulután and San Vicente. The last is that which
affects the Lower Lempa region.
Fortunately, as of last night there had not been reported any
fatalities, neither injured nor stricken, but medical brigades of the Ministry of Health
and of regional hospitals are already commencing their programs for prevention of disease.
Cases of colds, skin infections (fungi) and the possibility of an
increase of respiratory diseases could become a serious problem.