El Salvador is still reeling from a tragedy on top of a tragedy. Last week in the middle of the ongoing health, economic, and democratic crisis brought on by COVID-19, Tropical Storm Amanda slammed into El Salvador’s coast and then leveled a direct hit on San Salvador causing major destruction. The storm arrived on Sunday night, and by the end of the week rain from another storm, Tropical Storm Cristobal, was also lashing the country. The rising waters left 27 dead from floods and landslides and thousands more homeless.
Large chunks of highways collapsed, major roads were underwater, and just mud remains where houses once stood. The destruction was swift and complete in many communities. Many who didn’t lose everything still suffered damage from the winds and heavy rains. The tragedy of it all is that no one has any savings left after having endured the extended economic shutdown in El Salvador. Even in the rain, many Salvadorans were out waving white flags and asking for help.
We were not immune to the damage, and both of our ministry buildings suffered heavy wind and water damage. The situation the day after Amanda hit was complicated as hardware stores remained closed. That first day we called 8 stores looking for supplies to patch the roof. Many who were left homeless struggled to get to family members or a safe place to stay with public transportation closed down. Still others found themselves faced with the option of moving into a crowded shelter with the coronavirus rapidly approaching peak spread in El Salvador.
The situation looks bleak right now for many. The double punch of a devastating storm followed by rains from another one in the middle of a global pandemic seems unfathomable. It feels heavy right now. Families lost loved ones in the floods and landslides, homes and cars were swept away in the water, and the economic situation has been slowly claiming businesses and eating into what little savings families had set aside for the future.
The saying, “when it rains, it pours” couldn’t feel any more true than it does right now. El Salvador has experienced a lot of hardship in recent days and the road to healing and recovery is going to be a long one. We are here for it, and walking with our clients through it. We know that sometimes God does His very best work in the face of the very worst circumstances. We are so grateful to be used by Him to bless others with food, clothes, kind words, and hope even in these trying times. This year is turning out to be so very different than what we had imagined, but we know that it is not all a shock to God and so we will trust Him to help us love others well even in these dark and rainy days.
We thank you for your partnership, and we are so grateful for those of you who have responded so quickly to this latest crisis! If you would like to get involved, click here for more information on how we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis as well as how we are serving those affected by Tropical Storm Amanda.