Due to rains from Hurricane Matthew and a following low pressure system, brining chilly weather, grey skies and almost non-stop storms for over a week, many communities in El Salvador have flooded once again. The squatters community of Bendición de Díos in Tecoluca was overcome by water in the middle of the night and forced to seek shelter in a nearby public school. Over 100 people have stayed in this temporary shelter for five days, walking to the river that destroyed their homes to wash themselves and their clothes as the school has no running water, sleeping on four-inch thick mattresses on the schoolroom floor, and counting on the organization of CRIPDES San Vicente for food. Bendición de Díos is located between two small rivers and has been declared a non-inhabitable area. Working with different government institutions, CRIPDES has found a place for these 30 families to resettle once the waters subside.
Just down the highway, in San Carlos Lempa, another 50 people are sheltered in the CRIPDES offices. A city council member stops by the shelter on his way to assess the flooded community, to decide whether people can return. The sun has finally come out, and although many of the streets that run through this community still resemble mud puddles more than roads, the homes are dry, and people would prefer to sleep in their own beds and resume their lives the following day. And there are those that see the bright side of the rains: a handful of children from this community have stayed behind to swim and play in the temporary pools created by a weeks worth of rain. They'll need to bathe well afterwards, but certainly enjoy this afternoon splashing and cannon-balling.