AJWS Responds to Widespread Flooding and Mudslides in Central America

New York, NY; June 1, 2010—AJWS is collecting donations in response to the flooding and mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Agatha. The storm brought widespread devastation to Central America on Sunday.

Donations to AJWS’s emergency relief fund can be made at http://www.ajws.org/agatharelief or by check mailed to: American Jewish World Service, 45 W. 36th St, 11th Floor, New York, NY, 10018.

According to news reports, landslides have buried dozens of rural communities in Guatemala, rivers have overflowed, water pipes have burst throughout the country, roads have been washed away and bridges have collapsed. More than 120 people have died, and many isolated communities have been cut off from supply routes. In El Salvador, landslides have caused at least ten deaths, and more than 20 villages have been flooded. 

AJWS is organizing a response through its network of grantee organizations in Guatemala and El Salvador. Because of its network of partnerships in hard-to-reach, rural communities, AJWS is uniquely positioned to provide resources to groups that have direct access to the towns and villages. These grantees can quickly deliver services, such as emergency medical care and health education, and also begin to help rebuild agricultural infrastructure destroyed by the storm. AJWS is in contact with many of its partners, who are conducting needs assessments.

“Immediately following the storm, our grantees helped evacuate people and prepare hot meals,” said Oscar Andrade, AJWS’s consultant for Central America, speaking from El Salvador. “Now that the rains have stopped, they are assessing the damages and communities’ needs. They’ve been gathering medicine, clothes and bedding for victims. As people try to recover from the storm, money will be needed to help revitalize local economies.”

“A storm that would barely make the news in the U.S. has the capacity to bring total devastation and destroy tens of thousands of lives in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, where communities lack the infrastructure to withstand what would be considered a minor storm elsewhere in the world,” said AJWS president Ruth Messinger. “AJWS stands with vulnerable communities in their time of acute need and is fortunate to have partners in place who can ensure that our assistance has immediate and lasting impact.”

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.