El Salvador: Tropical Storm Pilar

Since the 30th of October, Tropical Storm Pilar (TS Pilar) has caused heavy rains and flash flooding, pouring between 144.5 and 210.0 mm of rain in the first 11 hours of the meteorological phenomenon. It rained the equivalent of the entire month of November. Given these conditions, the likelihood of flash floods in rivers and streams, urban flooding, landslides, and falling rocks and trees is high. As of November, at least three people died while more than 500 others were evacuated.

The government has activated the emergency systems by issuing a nationwide red alert on October 29 and declaring a 15-day national state of emergency. The country has suspended classes nationwide until November 1 for public, private and higher education institutions. The Government of El Salvador has pre-equipped 100 shelters in different areas with the capacity to shelter more than 8,000 people.

In a rapid assessment conducted by the Federation of Agrarian Reform Cooperatives Central Region (FECORACEN), local producers have reported serious impacts on their livelihoods and agricultural production crops. In certain areas of the country, up to 75% of bean crops and up to 50% of corn crops have experienced remarkable damage. Information at local level is almost non-existent and few humanitarian organizations are conducting rapid needs assessments. The members of ACT Alliance are carrying out a detailed damage and needs assessment in the communities most affected by the TS Pilar.

Members of the ACT Forum El Salvador such as Christian Aid, the Christian Association for Education and Development, the Lutheran World Federation, the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod and the CREDHO Association are currently in the field and plan to provide support. Municipalities of San Miguel, Usulután, and Ahuachapán have approached the ACT Forum El Salvador to request humanitarian aid, as well as some government institutions such as the Crecer Juntos Institute. OCHA’s office in El Salvador is coordinating the response in conjunction with NGOs and the National Civil Protection System.

Despite the lack of information from the communities, the government and ACT Forum members have estimated that the more pressing humanitarian needs are related to the sectors of food security and nutrition, WASH, Psychosocial support, especially for children and women, and livelihoods. Cash transfer has also been identified as feasible for this response.

The Salvadoran Lutheran Synod and ALFALIT are seeking to submit an RRF proposal to alleviate the most humanitarian needs based on the Damage and Needs Assessment being currently conducted in the targeted communities. The project foresees providing humanitarian services in the sectors of CASH, CBPS, protection, and WASH to reach 100 families in the 20 most affected municipalities (4,000 people; 2,040 women and 1,960 men). It is estimated that a budget of approximately USD 300,000 is required to develop and provide optimal humanitarian support.

ACT Alert – El Salvador Tropical Storm Pilar 2023