Beth, Sam and friends of Santa Maria,
Thank you for all of the work that you are doing. I know you're are doing your absolute best to be able to provide for and walk with Salvadorans while in the country. From the states, it feels as though there is so very little that we can do but spread news and gather our financial resources for those in need. As so many of you have written, this "disaster" is due only in part to the rains; more truthfully, those suffering have been most marginalized and simply forgotten by the senselessness of symbolic but oppressively controlling powers. In hopes that some images from the devastation can encourage more folks to donate, I share these photos from the time we did relief work last month, three days after the rains. En solidaridad, animo y adelante, Katy
The photos below are just a few of the images that we saw when we first arrived to the communities on the way to Lago Ilopango. (Below) Is the road we traveled to get down to folks living nearest to the lake, with the support from Friends of Santa Maria many of these roads are now cleared).
(Above) When we arrived to the community so ironically named La Joya Grande--the 'Great Gem' or in another sense 'Great Pride', these were the first things that we saw. Men risking death from dehydration decided to stay at their homes in order to keep neighbors from looting their sheet metal and corrugated tin used for walls and roofing. Although it lost one of is lateral walls, the house that is immediately to the left of the blue house still had occupants trying to live in it.
These were people's homes:
(Below) Surrounded by mountains and at an altitude of only 1,450 ft, Lago Ilopango rests in the crater of an extinct volcano. It is a basin for drainage and run-off water from rains in the hillside communities above. What appears to be a road above is a small creek during the rainy season, but when the rains and subsequent mudslides came, it became a white water river pulling all of the debris above with it and knocking over houses in its path.
(Right) Mudslides like this one carved their way down to not only the basin of the lake, but the flatter lands where most local farmers were growing their beans and corn. Both of which would provide not just food stuffs but the only income some campesinos would generate.