Editor's Note: Mudslides and flooding killed hundreds of people in Central America in early October after heavy rains, exacerbated by Hurricane Stan, hit the area. Following is a letter from Amy Denney Zuniga '05 M.Div., who is in El Salvador on a Fulbright grant, working and studying in the area of religion and social justice. She and her husband Vince tell friends from YDS and elsewhere that they survived the mudslides with minimum disruption, although many Salvadorans died while some 50,000 were evacuated. An ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, Zuniga is Deacon-in-Charge at the church and school of San Andrés Apóstol in Amantepec, San Salvador.
October 13, 2005
Queridos, dear ones,
After receiving a number of e-mails inquiring as to our well-being through the storms, mudslides, and volcano eruptions that have occurred in El Salvador, we wanted to let you know that we are alright-- you may have heard news of a volcano erupting and heavy rains from tropical storm "Stan" causing major landslides in El Salvador. The country has been in a state of emergency for the last week; sixty-five people have died in landslides, and some fifty thousand have been evacuated all over the country-- many have lost their homes. With a high population density and a severe lack of adequate housing it does not take a full-blown hurricane here to make a big mess. The diocese is still gathering information on the status of the missions and churches around the country. So far we know that some are without potable water, some have lost crops and houses and a number have been evacuated. The worst Vince and I suffered was a damp ceiling and a day and a half without internet service. The contrast with the situation of the folks who live down the street in tin shacks along the edge of a steep river gorge is almost overwhelming; that street is closed in fear that the whole street and row of houses will tumble down into the river.
If anyone is interested in donating funds for the relief effort here in El Salvador or in Guatemala which has also been hit with major landslides and flooding, we would suggest donating to Episcopal Relief and Development which is active in Central America. Their website address is http://www.er-d.org, or you can call 1-800-334-7626 ext. 5129. Another option is to contribute to Amy's discretionary fund. All recent contributions will go directly to relief efforts involving parishes and communities that have been adversely affected in El Salvador and Guatemala. You can send a check to:
The Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga--Discretionary Fund
c/o Gloria Zuniga
1000 Fairview Rd.
Hollister, CA 95023
Second of all, after the unfortunate loss of Amy's cell phone, we both have permanent new numbers--on a plan that replaces them if they get stolen! Those numbers are: Amy 011 503 7702-4481, and Vince 011 503 7838-2290. The rest of our contact information, including our home number, remains the same.
Thirdly, we wanted to remind you to check back on our website, www.updatesfromelsalvador.blogspot.com. You'll find several new articles and pictures-- including one of an "Enlivening Vigil" at our new church, the events of an extra-full Sunday, the Independence Month activities at the school Amy now runs, and the messages of the children of San Andrés to the Gulf Coast hurricane victims.
Lastly, thank you to all of you who have been in touch-- it means so much to know that you're thinking about us and praying for us; we feel very connected and supported by all of you, even from "very far away" to quote little Liam Creswell! Many thanks.
La paz de Dios guarde sus corazones- The peace of God keep your hearts.
Amy and Vince