Advocacy, Disasters

Flooding in the Lower Lempa of Jiquilisco, Usulután – Help Now

Voices just received an update from our partners United Communities, and news is that communities are beginning to flood. As we reported early in the day, a tropical depression is stalled just off the coast of Guatemala, causing flooding and mudslides in Auchuapan and communities along the coast, including those in the Lower Lempa region of San Vicente and Jiquilisco, Usulután.

According to our partners, the problem so far is the constant rainfall. The ground is saturated and the drainage ditches are full. As a result, communities are starting to flood. They include: Nueva Esperanza, El Zamorano, El Marillo I, Marillo II, La Casona, Montemar, Los Conventos, El Ángel, La Plancha, San Martín, Las Arañas y El Presidio. So far the only evacuations have been in El Ángel, where 37 families are in a shelter.

The Lempa River may soon become a problem and contribute to the flooding. At 1:00 this afternoon the September 15th dam began discharging water at a rate of 2300 cubic meters per second, just under the 2500 cm/sec the regions levee system can stand. At 4:00 pm the dam began releasing at 3500 cm/sec, and they increased it 5:00 pm 4000 cm/sec.

At the time of the last update, water from the dam had not reached the Lower Lempa, but our partners are expecting that the amount of water being released will cause severe flooding in Los Lotes and La Babilonia, communities that are the first to suffer when the river floods. If the release from the dam were to increase to 5500 cm/sec they speculate that the already weakened levees would fail and have deadly results in many other communities.

Beyond the immediate impacts that flooding will have, United Communities fears that severe flooding will devastate the economies of San Juan del Gozo, Las Mesitas, La Chacastera, and others that depend on traditional farming in the mangroves for their livelihoods.

At the moment the needs are basic – caring for the needs of those displaced and staying in shelters. The forecast is for the rain to stick around so we expect the needs to become much worse in the immediate future.

Please help us raise $3000 by this time tomorrow so that we may provide immediate assistance to those in need.

In 2009 readers of this blog helped us raise $9000 in support of communities in La Paz who were suffered when their communities were flooded. Please help us today by clicking on the Donate Now button in the top right-hand corner of this page. We will make a wire transfer at the close of business tomorrow.

Thank you

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