2009 El Salvador floods and mudslides

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2009 El Salvador floods and mudslides
Date November 7 and November 8, 2009
Location El Salvador
Deaths 199 total
Property damage $239 million (2009 USD)

The 2009 El Salvador floods and mudslides were extreme weather events that killed 199 people with others 76 missing and left $239 million in damages in El Salvador,[1] some unofficial sources have the death toll up to 275 people.[2] The flooding was caused by an unnamed weak low pressure system from the Pacific, not Hurricane Ida which had passed earlier.[3] Although Hurricane Ida produced moderate rainfall on November 6 and 7.

Meteorological history[edit]

In early November an area of low pressure formed in the Pacific ocean west of Central America. By November 5 Hurricane Ida made landfall in Nicaragua and the low pressure in the Pacific began a northwest movement due to an indirect effect of Hurricane Ida.[4] The alert systems were activated in El Salvador because of the proximity of the systems. Light to moderate rains began on November 6 and continued through the morning of November 7. Hurricane Ida reemerged in the Caribbean ocean and began to move towards the Gulf of Mexico and the low pressure system in the Pacific moved closer to the coasts of El Salvador and Guatemala. Later in the night of November 7 the heaviest rains were registered with a peak of 355 mm of accumulated rain in just 24 hours. The total amount of rainfall from November 6 to November 9 reached 483 mm in San Vicente and between 75 mm and 350 mm in other parts of the country.[5]


Officially 199 people were killed by the floods and landslides and 15,000 others were displaced. At least 2,350 homes were destroyed or damaged. The most affected departments were La Libertad, San Salvador, San Vicente, Cuscatlan and La Paz. Several rivers in those five departments rose above flood levels.

The town of Verapaz was heavily affected by a landslide from the Chichontepec volcano which damaged 300 homes becoming the symbol of the tragedy.[6]

55 bridges suffered damage or collapsed and 132 roads were blocked by landslides that cut the transport links to the interior of the country. Also the 103,000 people were left without power.[7] The total damage was calculated in $239 million.[8] The United Nations World Food Programme has reported that the floods had washed entire harvests and up to 10,000 people were in need of food assistance.[9]


President Mauricio Funes announced the increased toll on national radio.[10] He said the damage was "incalculable".[10] He promised aid while threatening any official who misappropriated the aid with prosecution.[11] The country declared three days of national mourning for the dead.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil. "Consolidado de afectaciones Huracán Ida y sistema de baja presión en las costas del Pacífico, 07 de noviembre de 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "International Disaster Database". Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ Marc Lacy (November 9, 2009). "Nameless Storm Is Disaster for El Salvador". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/meteorologia/informes+especiales/?evento=162
  5. ^ http://www.snet.gob.sv/Documentos/InformeConsolidadoEventoBPeIDA.pdf
  6. ^ Desperate search in El Salvador, BBC
  7. ^ Anastasia Moloney (9 Nov 2009). "Hundreds stranded after floods hit El Salvador". Reuters AlertNet. Archived from the original on 11 November 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  8. ^ http://www.elsalvador.com/mwedh/nota/nota_completa.asp?idCat=6364&idArt=4312415
  9. ^ "Heavy Rainfall Leaves 10,000 In Need Of Food Assistance In El Salvador". World Food Programme. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  10. ^ a b "Mudslides bury scores in El Salvador". ABC News. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  11. ^ Milton Grimaldi (9 November 2009). "Funes lamenta desastre en Verapaz San Vicente". la pagina. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009.