SAN SALVADOR -- The devastating storm was in fact the tail-end of Hurricane Ida, which churned along the Atlantic coast of Central America late last week, making landfall last Thursday over eastern Nicaragua and moving west towards El Salvador.
“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.”
State of emergency
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.
El Salvador’s Civil Protection department has already requested WFP food assistance in the San Vicente area and WFP is now working with the Government to assess the situation in other areas.
Evaluations are tricky because many communities are only accessible by helicopter since bridges and roads have collapsed as the result of the flooding and mudslides.
WFP is well positioned to provide whatever food assistance is needed because it has food supplies stored in readiness at its Emergency Preparedness and Response centre in San Salvador.
The centre has more than 90 metric tons (MT) of ready-to-eat High Energy Biscuits (HEBs), which 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.
Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, WFP will assist more than 13,000 people who were also affected by Hurricane Ida. The government requested WFP’s assistance after heavy rains caused extensive damage on the Atlantic coast.