EL SALVADOR: Salesian missionaries provide relief efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Amanda
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in San Salvador, El Salvador, are responding to the increase in COVID-19 cases while also assisting with relief efforts for those impacted by Tropical Storm Amanda. The storm left 17 people dead and caused extensive damage, including destroying 50 homes and 23 vehicles and forcing about 4,000 people to flee.
The Ricaldone Salesian Technical Institute is one of the Salesian centers that opened its doors to welcome people in need. A group of volunteers, including students, parents, past pupils, teachers, and administrators, helped the Salesian community to coordinate donations and deliver them to the temporary shelters that have been set up.
Salesian-run FULSALMO is also providing support to families impacted by the tropical storm. During the first week of June, breakfast and lunch were delivered to people in several temporary shelters in San Salvador. These support efforts were done in strict compliance with all safety and health measures required in the country to protect from COVID-19. Many families have already benefited from food and clothing, thanks to the support of people who have made donations.
“Salesian missionaries in El Salvador are faced with the challenges of providing emergency relief in the face of destruction from a tropical storm during a pandemic,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Because Salesians live in the communities they work, they are well-positioned to assess the local situation and assist in providing shelter and relief materials to those most in need.”
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. In 2016, San Salvador was named the murder capital of the world, seeing more murders and violent crime than any other city. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country, and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Crime is often associated with poverty and close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
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World Bank – El Salvador
Salesian Missions – El Salvador