Hurricane Ida prompts national mourning in El Salvador

By November 11, 2009

El Salvador (MNN) — El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes has
declared a national emergency following floods and landslides. 

In the wake of
Hurricane Ida, three days of national mourning, beginning Tuesday, are underway in El Salvador following the
deaths of over 130 people in floods and landslides.

The areas around the capital, San Salvador, and the central
province were hardest hit. Thousands are homeless and large parts of the
country are without electricity and clean water.

Compassion International has many church partners in the
flooded areas. Kathy Redmond says, "We're looking at 21 of our Child
Development Centers that operate out of the church being damaged by this and
so, we're looking at about 6,000 kids who have been affected." 

The United Nations World Food Program says over 10,000
people will need emergency food assistance over the coming days. Compassion teams are responding. An initial aid package of $20,000 disbursed
to get immediate aid on the ground.

This is where Compassion partnerships through the local
church become essential. They're a
functioning network with an infrastructure. 
They can respond quickly to emergencies. Redmond notes that meeting needs in crisis opens many doors. "People within the community have to go
to the local church to get relief. When they go to the local church to get
relief, the message is already there that, 'We're God's hands. We're doing
God's work.'" 

Pray for wisdom for the church leaders as they respond to the
situation. Redmond says, "When
strangers from the church come along and say, 'We're here to help you and we
want to make sure you have everything you need,' it really goes a long way in
ministering to people. It goes much further, I think, than just being a church
that has services."

You can help. The humanitarian aid response is just
the beginning.  Compassion assessment teams
are still making their way to the disaster zones to find out how heavy damages
are.  

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