According to the Environmental Minister, more than 1500 millimeters (59 inches) of rain fell between October 10th and October 20th, almost double the rain accumulation of any other weather disaster in El Salvador since 1969. Now the rainfall is coming to an end, or at least diminishing, as a cold front moves in from the southwest. Rivers are expected to remain high, but gradually start to fall. The Environmental Ministry reports that the September 15 Dam is releasing 1800 cubic meters of water per second and that the water level of the Lempa river remains above river banks.
However, even the short-term problems are far from over. The ground remains supersaturated with water. Civil Defense authorities report that approximately 2,000 square kilometers, or 10 percent of the national territory is flooded. 4 bridges have collapsed and another 14 are damaged on key routes, limiting accessibility.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) reports that there are 38,682 Salvadorans evacuated to shelters. Although Civil Defense authorities announced today that some evacuees might begin to return home, approximately 12 percent of evacuees will need temporary housing for 4 to 6 months, according to the PAHO.
In the Lower Lempa many families have at least gone to visit their homes, but most are not yet ready to return until there is potable water. The shelters are urging people to stay until water is restored, especially families with young children. The water project, the collectively owned and administered water service in the Lower Lempa, said that the tubes were damaged in three different places, and one of the ruptures is still submerged in flood water. Two different community associations and Oxfam are working to install different water tanks throughout the communities in the mean time.