Rains reveal emergency- and land-planning needs

El Salvador

Poor neighborhoods paid the highest price in El Salvador's recent rains. (Photo by Miguel Lemus)

As if contending with Covid-19 hasn’t been enough, El Salvador this month found itself struggling with the latest evidence of the meteorological extremes of the climate change era. The evidence came in the form of back-to-back tropical depressions from May 29 to June 6. The first, Amanda, blew in from the Pacific; and the second, Cristóbal, arrived from the Atlantic. Together, they dumped 1,100 millimeters (43 inches) of rain, or 60% of the country’s average annual precipitation, according to the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry (MARN). Thirty people died and 988 landslides occurred, with the heaviest damage in poor communities near rivers and slopes. Some 2,971 hectares (7,341 acres) of crops were lost, and infrastructure damage exceeded US$150 million, according to the government. Experts say climate change spells volatile weather for Central America, with rainfall at times painfully infrequent or, when it comes, punishingly intense. The... [Log in to read more]

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