Revision of the Flash Appeal for El Salvador 2011

7 December 2011

The arrival of Tropical Depression 12E in El Salvador on 10 October 2011 brought unprecedented heavy rainfall, accumulating more rain than Hurricane Mitch in 1998, and exceeding rain levels registered in the last 50 years. Due to the persistence of the storm, two low-pressure systems were generated, leading to torrential rains for more than ten days, causing severe flooding and landslides in 181 municipalities of most of the country’s 14 departments, affecting more than 500,000 people and flooding 2,000 km2, equivalent to 10% of the country.

This record-breaking rainfall levels caused all of the nation’s dams to reach their maximum capacity levels, thus triggering a rise in the discharge volume to 9,000 cubic metres per second, further flooding populated zones and crops downstream, similar to what occurred with the devastating Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Data from the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources shows that the levels of rainfall between 10 and 18 October reached 1,500 millimetres. El Salvador’s historical annual average rainfalls are 1,800mm. With 2,378 mm due to the DT12E, 2011 in El Salvador is the second highest rainfall year.

Due to the extent and magnitude of the impact, as well as the severe damage caused by rains in agricultural areas and infrastructure, El Salvador now faces one of the greatest disasters in its history.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, damages and losses are estimated at over $840 million, equivalent to almost 4% of the gross domestic product. This figure takes into account around $362 million of damages to assets and around $ 478 million of losses due to the reduction of economic activity, including production losses and higher service costs. Sectors most affected are agriculture, road infrastructure, housing and social infrastructure (health and education).

The consolidated report of damages and losses closed with 35 people dead, 59,854 people evacuated, 54,903 people in emergency shelter, a total of 669 collective centres were open during the emergency, in nine of the 14 departments of the country. Estimated flooded homes total 20,000, as well as 10,186 water wells, which 1,163 were destroyed and 9,082 damaged; at least 165,000 people will require food assistance and over 265,000 small holders who have lost part of their food crops will face serious livelihood challenges in the coming months. A total of 3,592 families require urgent intervention to provide them safer temporary shelter or repairing kits. To date only the families that have nowhere to go are still hosted in eight collective camps.

Although the Government of El Salvador has quickly and effectively responded to the evolving emergency and swift support action has been ensured by national, municipal and community-based authorities, thus averting greater loss of life, there are still significant humanitarian gaps and needs in the response that this appeal seeks to meet. This Flash Appeal aims to solicit and mobilize from the international community additional and complementary support to the Government’s effort of maintaining basic standards of humanitarian aid, to effectively targeting the most immediate humanitarian needs and most vulnerable sectors of the affected population.

Since the launch of the Flash Appeal, the appealing agencies have focused on coordinating the response of the humanitarian community through the activation of Clusters (Agriculture, Collective Centres and Shelters & Non-Food Items, Education, Food Assistance, Health, Protection and Water and Sanitation and Hygiene). Despite shortage of funding, projects have been successfully implemented and assistance has been provided to the affected population.

Since the beginning of the disaster, a nationwide coordinated effort has been underway. Through the participating humanitarian actors in the country, the support and cooperation of the international community, and the active involvement of communities’ municipal-level, the most effective path from emergency relief to recovery and reconstruction is ensured. All projects presented in this revised Flash Appeal maintain a coordinated approach, ensuring synergies and complementarities as well as economies of scale, with the active participation of all stakeholders.

This Flash Appeal also aims to provide focused and integral support to the affected population in ways that contribute to settling the foundation for sustainable recovery and reconstruction, which government authorities have already started to plan. All actions outlined in this Flash Appeal will be carried out through well-managed coordination between sectors and humanitarian actors, who will assume responsibility for the effective delivery of humanitarian response.

Based on the rapidly evolving context, current priorities and recent assessments by the Government of El Salvador, the UN system, the International Organization for Migration and the international humanitarian community, including non-governmental organizations and International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, the revised Flash Appeal seeks $[1]14,781,209 to continue to support El Salvador in addressing emergency relief and early recovery (ER) strategies and responses. The revised appeal continues with its initial “filling the gap” approach so that what is requested of the international community only addresses needs not covered by the Government.

With $4.8 million in funding for the appeal so far, this still leaves $9.9 million to be raised. The Humanitarian Country Team has defined the proposed projects which reflect priority interventions to be implemented through the eight Clusters activated: Shelter, Food Assistance, WASH, Health, Education, Protection and Agriculture as well as, the lately activated, ER Cluster.

ER support is targeted at the development of an ER framework to be supportive of the Government of El Salvador rehabilitation and reconstruction strategy and does not entail funding being required through the Flash Appeal, but rather support El Salvador in adopting an ER approach and address immediate recovery requirements, building on emergency relief investments and responses. This revised Flash Appeal has a planning and budgeting horizon ending April 2011.


[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars. Funding for this plan should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS,, which will display its requirements and funding on the current appeals page.


Document History

7 December 2011

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