Published on : Monday, June 1, 2020
On Sunday, tropical storm Amanda made landfall in El Salvador claiming at least 14 lives including an eight-year-old boy. The heavy rains caused floods across the region destroying more than 900 houses and uprooting more than 100 trees. Nearly 1200 people have been rendered homeless and four individuals continue to stay missing, as reported by local police authorities.
As the continued showers threaten to cause more floods across southern Guatemala, western Honduras and southeastern Mexico, residents continue to be at the risk of losing homes due to landslides and floods in certain vulnerable areas. The critical situation compelled President Nayib Bukele to declare a State of National Emergency for 15 days. The Civil Protection units have already issued a red alert for the entire country and have been working towards evacuating hundreds of families. Around 10 shelters have been set up in the western part of the country that has been hardest hit by the storm. Several people have also been shifted to makeshift shelters since Friday. The young boy passed away as his house collapsed followed by other deaths caused due to sliding walls and drowning.
The storm is the very first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific. It made landfall with a maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and weakened back to tropical depression status soon after landing. Later it moved north, approximately centering around 45 miles (75 kilometers) northeast of Guatemala City. According to reports, the downpour is expected to continue throughout Monday. Areas from northwest Nicaragua and Belize to the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca is likely to experience 5 to 10 inches of rain as reported by the National Hurricane Center. Western El Salvador areas are being monitored by emergency services. The storm has left a large number of rivers in the area exposed with the risk of overflowing. The Ministry of Environment has also warned the public about a high chance of flash floods, mudslides and falling debris along coastal zones that would have the capability to threaten lives and cause damage to property.
El Salvador Interior Minister Mario Duran said in a statement that the country is facing a critical situation across the entire region especially the in the metropolitan area of San Salvador. He mentioned that the government has noticed people for help but situation is overwhelming and they are trying to deploy everywhere. Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt added that coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, the country has never faced a grave situation like this before. He said that the people are living through an unprecedented situation, an emergency of great magnitude within another emergency of enormous proportions. Defence Minister Francis Merino Monroy shared that usage of vessels was necessary and boats were used to evacuate people.