El Salvador is located in Central America between Guatemala and Honduras. The landscape is hilly and mountainous and there are more than 25 massive volcanoes, some of which are still active. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. El Salvador has 6 million inhabitants. The vast majority of the population (86%) consists of Mestis (Indian-Spanish). There are also whites (13%) and less than 1% Indians (the original inhabitants).
In 1525, El Salvador was subjected to Spain and became independent in 1821. El Salvador then became part of the forerunner of the United States and in 1839 it became an independent republic. The country was governed alternately by democratic and dictatorial governments. In 1979 a civil war broke out between the junta and Marxist rebels that costed more than 75,000 lives. Only in 1992 peace was signed. From 1 June 2014, Salvador Sánchez Ceren became president of El Salvador.
The country has one of the highest murder rates in the world, caused by the large number of crime gangs. In the 1980s, many residents of El Salvador fled to the United States because of the civil war. It was difficult for them to find work and they sought refuge in gang formation. In the mid-1990s, thousands of El Salvadoran gang members were deported by the US. Once back in El Salvador, the gang members continued in the same way as they did in the US and formed gangs. The government has developed numerous programs to stop the gangs and to keep the youth out of the gang culture, so far without much success.
The economy of the country is the most stable of the region. Economic growth in 2017 was 2.4%. However, El Salvador has a very high debt burden. In addition to the agricultural sector, the service sector and the industrial sector are becoming increasingly important. Approximately 46% of the population is younger than 25 years. There are big income differences and poverty is enormous. At least 20% of the population lives abroad and the money they send is an important source of income for many families. Almost 40% of the population, especially in rural areas, live below the poverty line.
HomePlan in El Salvodor
HomePlan starts her first project together with TECHO El Salvador in 2018 with 51 houses for 54 displaced families in El Espino. These families have lost their homes during an eviction by the government. They have created new improvised shelters in a camp along one of the most busy roads near their old home. A dangerous situation for the children of the community. The current provisional shelters are made of zinc sheets, black plastic, old wood, rugs and waste materials. The floor consists of soil and this stimulates the spread of dengue fever and the Zika virus in children and adults. The residents have no drinking water, no electricity and there is no sewage in the camp.