climate change

registered rain fall during 168 hours of tropical depression in El Salvador - source SNET

registered rain fall during 168 hours of tropical depression in El Salvador - source SNET

Source: SNET

Now, more than ever, it is time to take the environment seriously. All of Central America has suffered during the last week of unprecedented rains. More than 47 inches of rain has fallen on the country during the last week and it is still raining. This is a record amount for El Salvador and it is greater than the 39 inches that fell during Hurricane Mitch in 1998. As a comparison, Minneapolis receives an average of 32 inches of rain per year.

There are preventative measures in existence today that can help mitigate environmental risks. It is time to start using them!

According to the article entitled Lluvias sobre América Central son efecto del cambio climático (Central American rains are an effect of climate change), the rain fall phenomenon in Central America during the last week was caused by climate change:

“Climate change is not something that is coming, we are suffering it, this rain storm is more evidence of the vulnerability that is bringing us to unknown levels of being affected, with which our society are going to have to live through.” , declared Raúl Artiga to the AFP, technician of the Central American Commission of environment and development (CCAD).

La Prensa Gráfica

Herman Rosa Chavez, the Minister of Environment in El Salvador said,

“We have climactic disorder, the 60s and 70s had the impact of one atmospheric phenomenon in every decade, then in the eighties there were two, in the 90s four, between 2000 and 2010 and were seven events and this new decade we have the first event and the question is how many are going to be?”, explained Rosa Chávez.

La Prensa Gráfica

la Málaga

La Málaga, a location in San Salvador that is highly vulnerable to floods has been affected by the storms this week. Here is a photo of la Málaga on Monday, October 10th at about 4:40 p.m. The photograph of the cover of Más was taken on Saturday, October 15th.

la Málaga, San Salvador on October 10th, 2011

la Málaga, San Salvador on October 10th, 2011

la Málaga, San Salvador on October 15th, 2011

la Málaga, San Salvador on October 15th, 2011

La Málaga is a fairly densely populated community that is unfortunately located at a hydrological bottle neck in San Salvador. Runoff coming down the San Salvador volcano from the Santa Tecla area fills streams as it gathers speed. La Málaga is a bend in those rivers and is quite narrow considering the quantity of water that needs to flow through there during a storm surge.

Bad or good timing?

Tutinichapa II - a three year old landslide

Tutinichapa II - a three year old landslide

I am fortunate enough to be in El Salvador right now gathering information to inform my thesis. Although it stopped raining today around 4:00 where I am, it has been raining for more than 48 hours in El Salvador.

I came to El Salvador because I am interested in a metropolitan-wide sinkhole condition that is caused by human-made water systems. There are three types of systems: potable water, sewer and storm water systems. Right now the storm water systems are overflowing and causing new sinkholes to form, tearing down bridges and flooding communities.

The emergency has thrown a wrench into some of my plans because my guides are busy attending to the emergency and it isn’t exactly a great idea to go to a community that is prone to storm water related disasters. I will say that is is eye opening to see this quantity of water fall in person. I hope that people are able to stay out of harm’s way.

Tim of Tim’s El Salvador Blog has a well written post about the storm in English.