(BWA) – Eight persons, including seven children, are missing after the destruction of First Baptist Church in San Vicente in the Central American country of El Salvador.
The church collapsed following heavy showers and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida on Sunday, Nov. 8.
“We are mourning because today once again the rain has provoked desolation and death,” wrote Gloria Cabrera de Rivera, former president of the Baptist Women’s Union of Latin America.
“The coastal zone on the Pacific side and places bordering have been flattened,” she informed the BWA in an email. “The volcanic mudslides have flattened anything that they have come in contact with and carried away human lives, houses and anything that existed.”
Sonia Valiente, president of the Baptist Association of El Salvador, said there is urgent need for food, clean water and other supplies, such as mattresses. Cabrera de Rivera said there is also great need for clothing and shelter.
“Please give special attention to this matter,” urged Raquel Contreras of Chile, BWA vice president and former president of the Union of Baptists in Latin America.
The country’s president declared a state of national emergency.
“It is with regret that the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has learned of the more than 120 deaths caused by heavy flooding that followed Hurricane Ida in El Salvador,” BWA General Secretary Neville Callam wrote to Baptists in the country of 5.7 million people. “We mourn with you at this time of great loss, with so many losing their lives, their families, their homes and their livelihoods. Please be assured of our prayers.”
Callam said the BWA “stands ready to offer any assistance we can through Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the BWA.”
Media reports state that thus far, 124 persons have been confirmed dead after mudslides rolled down the slopes of the Chichontepec volcano. People, houses and cars were buried by the flood, a mixture of mud and volcanic ash.
El Salvador has two Baptist conventions and unions that are member bodies of the BWA, the Baptist Association of El Salvador and the Baptist Federation of El Salvador, with a combined membership of approximately 10,000 in almost 100 churches.