At the end of October and the beginning of November, the hurricane season brought intense days of rain to Central America, affecting the communities where workers live. On the night of October 29, 2020 at around 10 o'clock at night, a flood broke off part of the San Salvador volcano on the hillside known as “El Picacho” and destroyed the Los Angelitos 2 community, destroying some 110 homes. The wet and saturated soils made heavy rains easily trigger this tragedy. The central government authorities responded very slowly to the emergency and with a lack of coordination with the local government of the municipality.
The Salvadoran union SITRASACOSI quickly joined the community activities, identifying urgent needs among community members. As this was happening, Hurricane Iota reached Central America, entering through Nicaragua between November 2 and 3, leaving serious floods not only in Nicaragua, but also in El Salvador and Guatemala, and especially in Honduras. Thousands of hectares were flooded, the Choloma and Ulúa rivers overflowed, and many worker communities in the Sula Valley, in the vicinity of La Lima and Choloma, went under water forcing thousands of people to evacuate, others to take refuge in trees, roofs and high areas like hills. Even some factories, textile companies, and warehouses were flooded.
The Union League quickly coordinated with the Honduran Workers' Collective Movement, MOCOOH and other sister unions. The first demand to the companies was to evacuate the factories in a timely manner, on November 2, so that the workers could return to their families. Once the floods were underway, the emergency coalition organized to provide emergency aid, prepared and non-perishable food, transport in boats, and other support in order to make up for the lack of response from the authorities.
Despite the fact that the main focus of the Union League and its member unions is to defend labor rights against the injustices in the global apparel industry, emergencies such as those that have affected Central America in recent weeks merit an immediate response from our organizations due to our being directly linked to the communities, which allows us to coordinate quickly with the workers in emergency situations. The vulnerability in which working families and their communities live is a specific product of the great industrial injustices in the global apparel industry.