Active Volcano Raises Health Concerns, ADRA Takes Action

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Phone: 1.800.424.ADRA (2372)


SILVER SPRING, Md. - Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has been steadily active since 1999, with only a few major eruptions. However, as of late November the large volcano located 87 miles (140 km) south of the capital city, Quito has intensified in eruptive power, affecting the government to make an urgent appeal for nearby residents to evacuate. In response to a request made by Ecuador's Ministry of Heath, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency ( ADRA) is responding to the needs of resident's affected by the volcano's eruption, which has made visibility and breathing increasingly difficult.

ADRA is currently distributing disposable facemasks and eye solution to an estimated 4,500 families over the span of six days in the affected zones of Cantón Baños de Agua Santa, Cantón Pelileo, and Oriental del Cantón Guano. The facemasks serve to reduce inhalation of volcanic ash particles present in the air, to people living in close proximity to the billowing volcano. Additionally, due to the abrasive nature of volcanic ash, it is common for individuals exposed to this residue to experience discomfort, and in some cases irritation to the eyes. The eye solution provided by ADRA eliminates the detrimental effects of volcanic ash, relieving severe redness and burning.

According to ADRA Ecuador's reports, the volcano's emission of hot ash and gravel and pyroclastic flow has increased since November 27, and as a result authorities have declared a state of "orange alert." The main concern is the health of the population as they are now inhaling elevated levels of volcanic emission. Although volcanic activity is on a rise, many indigenous families living near Tungurahua have chosen not leave their family land.

Prior to this latest volcanic eruption, ADRA has been present in the region, training community leaders techniques of evacuation and hazard preparation, in efforts to save lives. In addition, ADRA is training families how to prevent diseases caused by volcanic ash.

ADRA Ecuador, the ADRA Inter-American Regional Office, and ADRA International funded this initial $20,000 emergency response.

To contribute to ADRA's humanitarian efforts towards families affected by the Tungurahua volcano, please contact ADRA at 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or give online at

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ADRA is a global non-governmental organization providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit

Author: Christina Zaiback, ADRA International