Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Tropical Storm Amanda Kills 14 in El Salvador, Forces 4,200 to Evacuate

Climate
Tropical Storm Amanda Kills 14 in El Salvador, Forces 4,200 to Evacuate
A man observes the damages caused to his neighborhood from Tropical Storm Amanda on May 31, 2020 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Guillermo Martínez / APHOTOGRAFIA / Getty Images

At least 14 people were killed when Tropical Storm Amanda walloped El Salvador Sunday, Interior Minister Mario Duran said.


Four people are missing, according to Noticias El Salvador, and around 200 homes were damaged by falling trees, flooding and mudslides, AFP reported.

"We lost everything, we've been left with nowhere to live," San Salvador resident Isidro Gomez, whose home was destroyed when a river overflowed its banks, told AFP.

San Salvador, the nation's capital, saw half of the nation's total fatalities, its Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt said. He said the storm had forced 4,200 people into government shelters in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are experiencing an unprecedented situation: one top-level emergency on top of another serious one," he told AFP, referring to the pandemic.

The government of El Salvador has reported a total of 2,582 coronavirus cases. Forty-six people have died, and 1,063 have recovered.

Amanda strengthened into a tropical storm before making landfall Sunday, making it the first named storm of the East Pacific 2020 hurricane season, AccuWeather reported. It later weakened into a tropical depression and then a tropical rainstorm, but forecasters say its heavy rainfall still poses a major risk to Central America early this week.

Because of its heavy rainfall, it was forecast to be a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.

"Heavy rainfall will be the greatest threat over Central America, particularly in the higher terrain or Guatemala and El Salvador where rainfall totals of 18-24 inches are possible," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Randy Adkins said.

In El Salvador, that rainfall has already turned deadly in the form of floods and landslides. One person drowned in a flooding river, while another was crushed by a collapsing wall, Reuters reported. An eight-year-old boy was killed when his house collapsed.

"We've seen people asking for help, asking for the government. We haven't deployed everywhere, the situation is overwhelming," Duran said Sunday, as Reuters reported.

The storm is estimated to have caused $200 million in damage to El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele said, according to AFP. He declared a 15-day state of emergency to recover from the storm.

Amanda weakened as it passed on to Guatemala, where it caused flooding and at least five landslides that blocked roads. However, no one had to be evacuated.

The climate crisis is making hurricanes wetter and extreme precipitation events more likely. A storm does not have to be a hurricane to cause damage. In 2019, Tropical Storm Imelda swamped Houston with a 1-in-1,000-year flood event just two years after Hurricane Harvey did the same.

Correction: This piece has been updated to clarify that all the deaths reported by Reuters took place in El Salvador.

Map shows tracks and strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones in 2020. Blues are tropical depressions and tropical storms; yellow through red show hurricanes, darker shades meaning stronger ones. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia Commons

By Astrid Caldas

As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters shouting slogans on megaphones during the climate strike on September 25 in Lisbon, Portugal. Hugo Amaral / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.

The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."

Read More Show Less

Trending

A child plays with a planet Earth ball during the Extinction Rebellion Strike in London on Apr. 18, 2019. Brais G. Rouco / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Will concern over the climate crisis stop people from having children?

Read More Show Less

By Liz Kimbrough

Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in a virtual ceremony this year. Dubbed the "Green Nobel Prize," this award is given annually to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continents.

Read More Show Less
Mount Ili Lewotolok spews ash during a volcanic eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara on November 29, 2020. Joy Christian / AFP / Getty Images

A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.

Read More Show Less