Following the torrential rains which struck El Salvador in October, the Israeli Embassy in San Salvador donated and installed water purifiers in 22 schools and health centers in the afflicated region, each with a capacity to purify up to 45,000 liters.

 Israeli aid following natural disasters in El Salvador

 

Minister of External Affairs, Ing. Hugo Martinez with Amb. Shmulik Bass launching the first water purifier in the National Institute of Higher Education in Bajo Lempa

Between October 10-20, 2011 Central America – and especially in El Salvador – were struck by torrential rains. Average rainfall across the country reached more than 800 millimeters in 11 days. In the town Huizúcar, 1513 millimeters of rain were measured in only one week.

The torrential rains caused loss of life and extensive damage to bridges, roads, houses, irrigation ditches and crops. It is estimated that up to 75 percent of the staple food crops – sugar, corn, rice and beans – were lost when the fields were flooded. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes. The President of El Salvador declared a state of emergency and called on the international community for assistance. Many countries and individuals mobilized to contribute mattresses, food parcels and other basic necessities.

The region most severely hit is located in the delta of the Lempa River, which runs for 420 kilometers from Guatemala through Honduras and into El Salvador. At the height of the flood, water flow near the mouth of the river was measured at over 7,000 cubic meters per second, washing away and destroying everything in its path, including water resources. The water supply, already poor in quality, was contaminated following the floods. Within two weeks dengue, leprosy and intestinal diseases began to spread, causing additional deaths.

Vast quantitites of bottled mineral water began to reach the afflicted areas along with food parcels and other equipment. The Israeli Embassy in San Salvador, with the support of its Latin American Division and MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, decided to provide public water purifiers to the population who suffered most from the loss potable sources of water.

The embassy donated and installed water purifiers in 22 schools and health centers in the region, each with a capacity to purify up to 45,000 liters, so that students, patients and their families can enjoy a reliable source of purified watern. The purifiers will provide a total of one million liters of purified water to the population, free of dangerous bacteria and parasites.

 Israeli aid following natural disasters in El Salvador

Left to right:
Gloria Calderon de Oñate – City Council member for San Salvador, responsible for external affairs
Adelina Villacorta Gumero – City Council member for San Salvador
Shmulik Bass, Israeli Ambassador to El Salvador and Belize
Dr. Norman Quijano, Mayor of San Salvador, former MASHAV trainee (1991)
Dr. Ricardo Lara – Salvador City Council member, responsible for medical affairs