Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30th 2010 - "Agatha"

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA – Associated Press
“Although no longer even a tropical depression, Agatha still posed trouble for the region: Remnants of the storm were expected to deliver from 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of rain over southeastern Mexico, Guatemala and parts of El Salvador, creating the possibility of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,"

I remember being in Iowa and listening to the news during hurricane season … who can forget Katrina? Mitch? Stan? Ida? (You might not remember the last two … but we in El Salvador remember them well!)

And I remember breathing sighs of relief when the meteorologists lowered their status: A hurricane is now a tropical storm … a tropical storm is now a ‘tropical depression’ (whatever that means).

And in far away places we might see a few pictures of a landslide or some flooded areas (like West Des Moines and places all over Iowa during the floods of 1993).

And it IS a relief when the storms lose their potency.

But the dangers are not over just because the status of the storm has changed. Here in El Salvador, our ‘tropical depression’ has hit us pretty hard. And that storm (Agatha is her name – the FIRST of the season, God help us!) was mostly centered on Southern Mexico and Guatemala! Guatemala also, by the way, is suffering this very week with a substantial eruption from a very large volcano just 15 miles from their capital city!

Here in Berlin and most of El Salvador, we’ve had 5 days of pretty solid rain. Sometimes smattering … often very strong. I think all week we have had maybe 2 hours of weak sunshine - and not all at once. And it is still raining. And it doesn’t really matter where you live when you have this much rain. In the lowlands – you have flooding. It is a blessing to live near a river but it can also be deadly. In the mountains, we have valleys that are prone to flooding and hillsides that are prone to landslides. The land is so saturated that trees topple with minimal wind. In all of El Salvador – city, town or country – roads washout, get covered by falling trees or other debris and they form huge ruts which become flooded rivers and therefore impassable by cars, horses and people. People often get stranded in their communities till the waters subside.

And I know I’ve talked about homes in the cantons – and even the city or town for that matter. A roof is often several scraps or a variety of materials patch-worked together. They leak. The walls leak. The dirt floor becomes mud. People are wet. Stuff is wet. If people and things aren’t literally getting rained upon, the dampness in the air permeates everything. I’ve had laundry ‘drying’ in my office for over 5 days … they are still quite wet. I’m not complaining mind you… I KNOW how spoiled rotten I am here in my office and the bedroom I call home which has only a couple of small roof leaks! I have a sweater and warm clothing and an umbrella … if I get soaked I can change clothes … I have electricity most of the time. I have hot coffee to warm me and food to nourish me to help stave off the perpetual bad health that most people suffer – everyone has a cold between May and October.

I just wanted you to know… that even when a big storm is ‘done’ – we still need your prayers here and in many places around the world.

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