Early Warning System in El Salvador

House reconstruction on higher foundation to be resilient to floods in El Salvador.

Salinas del Potrero in El Salvador, a community of one thousand people, suffers annual flooding that causes residents to evacuate.

The region only has one loudspeaker to alert the community of any danger. In a community assessment, the team learned that members in the farthest communities could not hear the loudspeaker, making them the most vulnerable to flooding or tsunamis.

The church identified a solution to improve the early warning system by purchasing walkie-talkies. The church team and community members visited each high-risk area and tested the system’s reach and efficiency. Even five miles from the farthest community, the walkie-talkies worked! 

The church decided to buy a pair of walkie-talkies for each of the target communities. They also trained key leaders in strategically located areas to act as a point-person between communities and government officials, giving notice of any impending hazards and then conveying information using a communication phone tree. 

The system strengthened the social cohesion within the communities in the region. When a disaster occurs, the community can collectively act together. 

Several years after the system was installed, the communities continued to speak of their ability to evacuate in time.

Read more on how communities have been implementing their Pastors and Disasters training:

Pastors and Disasters: A Look Into Community-Based Disaster Resilience