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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha- Emergency in Santiago and the rest of the country

Friends and lovers-

Since November 2009, we have been in a state of emergency and recuperation. Life has definately not turned to normal. Lost family farms and businesses mean kids have dropped out of college. Loans with interest rates over 30% to rebuild roofs, and many families who live in houses with no walls. Pocketed sheet metal shacks were hastily built only 3 weeks ago to take people out of shelters.

We were building early warning systems. We were writing projects to build safe shelters. We wanted to build some houses. We were ready to apply for projects from USAID.

Tropical Storm Agatha decided that it didnt want to wait for us to write projects. and like all not-so-natural disasters, the poor get rocked.

Rivers are flowing over banks all over the country. We are in a state of orange altert, just one away from red, the highest level of emergency. and guatemala is much worse believe me.

I dont have time to cover the whole natioanl situation, but I can tell you the news is vastly underreporting damages. they say 411 people are in shelters, but we have 108 in Santiago Texacuangos alone (all woman and children from Joya Grande). From contacts with community leaders and Mercedes and Vladimir who have been on that ground working with alcaldia and proteccion civil we know.

There are several landslides already, in Shaltipa and El Sauce, where families are staying in schools and at neighbors houses. Santa Maria has several families staying in the church, and Joya Grande has OVER 300 FAMILIES THAT NEED EVACUATION. no one has electricity or water.

Mercedes was there for 5 hours yesterday making the emergency plan, and we sent yesterday and today LONG TERM RADIOS, short term radios, rain jackets, rescue ropes, $ for phone calls and drivers and logistics. Obviously, that money was taken out of the budget means for stuff like agriculture and trauma therapy. But an emergency is an emergency.

So, yet again, and too soon, we need donations. Food, water, emergency rescue equipment, gas for my car, crayons for kids in shelters, diapers, an insanely long list.

I dont have time to reflect much right now, but I can say with confidence that OUR PRESENCE IN SANTIAGO HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE. We evacuated lots of families with plans and supplies we bought with your donations, and we have logistics set up in the whole area with contacts everywhere.

I have a volunteer base for 80 people (10 of which are coming tommorrow) to split up and get to communities and fill out evaluations of needs and damages, and others to start psychological processes with children and women in shelters.

We have been working since Wednesday getting prepared. We didnt think it would be this bad tho. and its supposed to get worse tonite.

Ive got to get back to our center of operations (my kitchen table with my, my boyfriend, and 2 salvadoran friends) to prepare for our big shopping list and resuce/evacuation tommorrow.

I think most our our communities will be ok in terms of human lives, but i am worried about joya grande. no way to get a car or bus in, no more gas left in the boats, and 300 families in serious landslide danger. there is not a darned thing I can do tonite. but tommorrow, we will show up if it means we have to walk.

email me immediately or call 011.503.7440.1492 if you have any contacts with helicopters....in all seriousness.

thanks for staying tuned. and in solidarity always. please pray for people in joya grande tonite. and all over el salvador and guate. its gonna be a long couple a days, and supposed to continue thru tuesday....

and start recycling. this is not normal. this is called global climate change and its our fault.

THanks!
Beth
p.s. we need $355 for operations tmrw. here is the list sorry its in spanish
Uní. descripción Precio c/u total
10 lámparas $ 7.50 $ 75.00
10 capas $8.00 $80.00
comida ALM-DESA $ 20.00
Saldo $ 60.00
gasolina Transporte $20.00
Gastos administrativos $60.00
Otros. $ 40.00
TOTAL $355.00

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