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2015 Corporate Responsibility Report

Our ECA study for San Salvador

San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador and by far the country’s largest city; the municipality itself has a population of slightly more than half a million, while the whole metropolitan area counts almost two and a half million inhabitants. The three major climate-related risks are floods, tropical cyclones and landslides.

Flowing water in a city (photo)

Our ECA study for San Salvador found that further improving river bank reinforcements such as these can significantly reduce damage from flooding and protect vulnerable houses.

Our ECA study revealed that the annual expected damage from flooding around Acelhuate River is likely to increase almost four-fold by 2040. However, urban planning (such as river bank reinforcements), ecological restoration and the construction of absorption wells could protect many people against flooding and reduce the risk by approximately USD 150 million. Ecological restoration would have particular benefits for people living in the city’s poorer neighbourhoods: Strengthening the buffer capacity of the ecosystem in the Acelhuate catchment area through reforestation could reduce the risk of flood damage there by up to USD 50 million over three decades.

Damage from landslides must also be expected to increase substantially in vulnerable areas with steep slopes and a high potential for water accumulation. Here, effective adaptation measures are reforestation and the construction of terraces, as well as finding more suitable places for San Salvador’s most vulnerable people to live.