My daughter Allison is in El Salvador with Santa Clara University's study-abroad program, Casa de la Solidaridad.
In October, a persistent tropical depression caused wide-spread flooding and destruction -- it's now being called "The Deluge of 2011". Damage was especially severe in the Lempa River Delta where it flows into the Pacific Ocean, but the need for disaster relief is intense throughout El Salvador.
One of the people Al is involved with is Juan Velasco of the El Salvador education NGO, Programa Velasco, which is recognized by the IRS as a 510(c)3 charity. I have investigated Programa Velasco and it is well-run and worthy of support, so you can sent relief funds to El Salvador for Programa Velasco's use by going to PayPal and donating what you can.
The Programa Velasco has a page indicating needs with some photos
- Urgent Necessities: Vitamins, Ibuprofen, antibiotics (amoxicillin) and other products to cure and prevent skin infections
- Important Necessities: powdered milk (mostly for children), bottled drinking water, canned food (especially with protein), underwear, boots, shoes.
- Other Necessities: bleach, soap, mosquito netting (preventing mosquito borne illnesses- dengue, malaria, etc).
As always in natural disasters, it's better to send money rather than material goods that have to be shipped, organized at the destination, and transported to areas of need. Just go to PayPal and donate what you can.
There are other English-language blogs on the Deluge of 2011 and the need for international disaster relief. An American named Tim has made several mission trips to El Salvador and maintains a blog, Tim in El Salvador. One of his posts commented on the urgent water issues:
The availability of healthy water continues to be a serious challenge for El Salvador, and the Deluge of 2011 has only made it worse. According to a story in La Prensa Grafica, the Ministry of Health reports that 10,186 wells were destroyed or contaminated by the flooding. In addition, some 28,862 latrines were damaged in the flooding. These damages to the water and sanitation infrastructure of the country create additional risks for disease.
You can see the degree of flooding at this Facebook album
Voices from El Salvador on the destruction: http://voiceselsalvador.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/worse-than-hurricane-mitch-complete-destruction/