David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Droughts and Flooding

Droughts and flooding are the news from eastern El Salvador. Last week’s pictures in one of the national newspapers showed the Rio Grande San Miguel at flood stage in the township of Concepcion Batres. The bridge crossing the river is usually 20 feet above water level. Last week the river was touching the roadway and flooding shoreline communities. On June 1, 2010 on our way to church in Puerto Parada, homes were standing in 2 feet of water. This continued for 8 weeks and the people remained in their homes with nowhere else to go. Can you imagine living in two feet of filthy water for 2 months? The first planting of seeds withered in the drought. The second planting is usually nourished by these rains but last week they have been severe, destroying the bean plants and creating landslides in the volcanic zone. Landslides can be catastrophic if not immediately removed. Debris and mud can create a damming effect and once the pressure of the dammed water exceeds the pressure of the blockage, a wall of water is released with unstoppable force. The Salvadoran government is assessing the crops to determine if the harvest will be comparable to previous years or will be less. This is critical for the government to know food security risks to avoid a regional famine. An agency of USAID is predicting that by June 2016 1,000,000 Salvadorans will be experiencing hunger. That’s 20% of the population and can result in catastrophic emergencies and civil unrest in communities. Here in Wisconsin we are experiencing an excellent harvest. The final crop is soybean. Like the corn crop this year, it’s predicted to be a bumper crop. But for our partners in El Salvador the question is if the undamaged crops will mature in time for the harvest. And for us, it’s also personal. Will our agriculture grant participants benefit from their hard work through the December/January harvest? We will learn more in November during our visits to the project sites. David y Nancy