El Salvador Today
Geography & Natural DisastersEl Salvador covers an area of about 22,000 square kilometers and is about the size of Massachusetts.
Because El Salvador has dozens of active volcanoes and sits on a meeting point of tectonic plates, it is prone to significant seismic activity. In January and February of 2001, back-to-back earthquakes devastated much of the tiny Central American country, combining to destroy an estimated 153,000 homes.
El Salvador is also susceptible to the residual effects of hurricanes and tropical storms. In November 1998, Hurricane Mitch triggered mudslides and buried thousands of homes. In 2005, Hurricane Stan triggered flooding throughout El Salvador, causing 67 deaths and more than 50,000 people evacuated. According to the U.S. Department of State, damages from the storm were estimated at $355.6 million.
Because of this natural volatility, sustainable infrastructure on all levels is a major challenge for this impoverished nation.