Crime and violence threaten social development and economic growth in El Salvador and negatively affect the quality of life of its citizens. After a sharp and sustained increase in the levels of violent crime since 2000, the murder rate peaked at 71 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009, declining slightly to 69 in 2011.
An ongoing truce between rival street gangs has further reduced homicide rates in El Salvador since the pact began in March of 2012 to 39,6 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants by the end of 2013. El Salvador's vulnerability to adverse natural events, exacerbated by environmental degradation and extreme climate variability, also compromises the country's sustainable development and long-term economic growth. In 2011, Tropical Depression 12E hit El Salvador, affecting more than 1.4 million people and causing 902 million US dollars in damages and losses.
El Salvador is considered one of the world's countries with the highest vulnerability to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and volcanic activity. However, the year 2013 was relatively quiet in terms of humanitarian situations in the country, counting the crops affected by coffee rust and the eruption of the volcano Chaparrastique as more relevant incidents.
In the case of coffee plantations, it is estimated that 70 per cent of crops have been affected, and it is estimated that the production of the 2013-2014 crop will shrink by 36 per cent, affecting access of the vulnerable people to harvest and work; and 11,505 families in terms of food insecurity.
Poverty and social exclusion were the prevalent cultural conditions that impelled young people with no future to join the ranks of the maras. El Salvador is experiencing new forms of violence. To address this challenge, the Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRCS) will need a concerted and multipronged effort on the part of Red Cross Movement and international development partners.