The torrential rains that soaked El Salvador over the last two weeks have left thousands of people homeless in , according to an Elk Grove resident with close ties to the city's mayor.
"They are going through some really hard times over there," said Oscar O'con, a Laguna Sunrise Rotary Club member who first introduced Elk Grovians to the coffee-growing town in El Salvador's mountainous Ahuachapán province.
O'con said Ataco's mayor, Oscar Oliverio Gómez Duarte, told him by phone Monday that the town had received more rain in two days than it normally does during an entire winter month. At least 2,000 people—about one-tenth of the city's population—had lost their homes in the resulting floods and landslides, O'con said Gómez told him.
Gómez, who visited Elk Grove in September to celebrate the signing of a friendship agreement between the cities, could not immediately be reached Friday. Pictures on his Facebook page show city workers clearing debris and handing out food aid to residents.
As a cold front heads toward El Salvador, the City of Elk Grove and the Rotary Club are both planning aid drives to send clothing, building materials and other supplies to Ataco. Residents who want to help can bring new or gently used clothes, blankets and shoes to City Hall beginning Monday, said city spokesperson Kara Reddig.
The rains have killed close to 100 people throughout Central America, according to The Los Angeles Times. The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have all declared national disasters, the Times reports.
For more information about the aid efforts for Ataco, contact O'con at email@example.com or the City of Elk Grove at 916-691-CITY.