Heavy Rainfall Leaves 10,000 In Need Of Food Assistance In El Salvador

Published on 10 November 2009

SAN SALVADOR – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has estimated that as many as 10,000 people will need urgent food assistance in the coming days after heavy rains swept across El Salvador, leaving more than 100 people dead and causing extensive damage.

The devastating storm comes after Hurricane Ida churned along the Atlantic coast of Central America late last week.

The Government of El Salvador has declared a state of emergency in five of the most affected departments - San Salvador, San Vicente, La Libertad, La Paz and Cuscatlan. Civil Protection has requested WFP food assistance to meet the needs of nearly 500 people located in 3 shelters in San Vicente.

Compromised food security

“The intensity of the rainfall over the last 24 hours surpassed that of Hurricane Mitch 11 years ago,” said Dorte Ellehammer, WFP Representative in El Salvador. “Severe flooding washed away entire harvests, homes and livelihoods. This disaster has compromised the food security of thousands of people.”

The Regional Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, located in San Salvador, stores more than 90 metric tons (MT) of ready-to-eat High Energy Biscuits (HEBs), which will be ready for distribution in the next 48 hours.  This supply can feed some 70,000 people for up to 4 days.  An additional 1,000 MT of food supplies is also available in the country.

WFP is working closely with the Government and UN agencies to evaluate the situation over the coming days - a difficult task due to the fact that many municipalities are only accessible by helicopter since bridges and roads have collapsed as the result of the flooding and mudslides.

13,000 people assisted

In Nicaragua, WFP will assist more than 13,000 people who were also affected by Hurricane Ida. The Government of Nicaragua requested WFP’s assistance after heavy rains caused extensive damage on the Atlantic coast. On the Pacific coast, severe drought caused by the effects of El Niño has had an impact on the crops of subsistence farmers.

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For further information:

Dorte Ellehammer, WFP El Salvador, Tel. +503 2263-6144
Natasha Scripture, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3146, Mob. +39 340 466 3480