As the menacing Tropical Storm Pilar looms just 360 kilometers off the coast of El Salvador, the nation is bracing for an onslaught of heavy rains, strong winds, and potential flash floods. The Ministry of Environment has issued warnings of urban flooding, sudden river and creek overflows, and gusty winds as Pilar’s fury intensifies.
In response to the imminent threat posed by Tropical Storm Pilar, the government of El Salvador has activated all disaster prevention protocols and declared a state of emergency across the entire territory. This declaration came following President Nayib Bukele’s request to the Legislative Assembly. Additionally, the Ministry of Education has suspended classes in both the public and private sectors, including higher education institutions. The General Directorate of Civil Protection has raised a nationwide red alert.
Previously, an orange alert was in effect, primarily for the Greater San Salvador Metropolitan Area and the coastal regions. The Legislative Assembly convened an extraordinary plenary session at 10 p.m. yesterday to approve the state of emergency.
With the storm-related emergency declaration, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) has deployed over 3,000 personnel nationwide to provide assistance in anticipation of potential rain-related incidents. Romeo Rodríguez, the Minister of Public Works, emphasized that this workforce complements the existing teams already engaged in various projects across the country.
“Over 3,000 personnel are dispersed throughout the national territory, not counting personnel from other institutions or those already working on ongoing projects. These individuals will be available 24 hours a day to address any contingencies that may arise in the coming days,” noted Rodríguez.
To accommodate those in need, the San Salvador Municipal Government has established 17 shelters in various districts of the capital, as announced by the Director of Municipal Development, Manuel Rodríguez. These shelters are located in community centers in areas like Las Palmas, Asunción, Quiñonez, Granjero 1 and 2, the Katya Miranda Complex, and Saturnino Bengoa, near the Palermo and Las Palmas communities.
The various institutions comprising the Integrated National Health System remain active, prepared to provide assistance to the population in response to the emergency caused by Tropical Storm Pilar. The Ministry of Health (Minsal) has ensured that all healthcare facilities, including clinics and hospitals, are well-stocked with medications to cater to any healthcare needs that may arise.
“The healthcare system is fully operational in light of the climate emergency affecting our country. President Nayib Bukele has entrusted us with doing everything humanly possible to safeguard the lives of the Salvadoran population. Our hospitals, health units, and all healthcare personnel within the Integrated Health System are ready to address emergencies, sheltering, pregnant mothers, and the general population,” stated Health Minister Francisco Alabi.