Aurelia left for work at 5:00AM, when the streets of Tegucigalpa were still deserted. As she walked, a white sedan with tinted windows drew up at the curb. A window lowered, and Aurelia found herself facing a man with a gun. “He told me to climb in,” says 35-year-old Aurelia. “I tried to keep walking, but the car kept on following me. He said, ‘Climb in or we shoot you.’ One of the men got in the back and I was made to sit in the front. They taped my hands and my mouth and told me not to scream or else they would kill me. So I stayed very quiet so they wouldn’t kill me..."
During the weekend of November 6-9, a fierce storm struck El Salvador, triggering floods and mudslides that killed 150 people and displaced more than 13,000. The storm, which is unnamed, came only few days after Hurricane Ida churned along the Atlantic coast of Central America. Salvadorian authorities have declared a state of emergency in the regions affected and many communities have been isolated for days because of collapsed bridges.
Maria will never forget this day in November for the rest of her life. She was sitting in a bus, five blocks away from her home, when a black car blocked the road. Two masked men entered the bus and put a gun at Maria’s head.