Ecuador: Tungurahua Volcano OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 26 Jul 2006
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2006/0136
OCHA Situation Report No. 3
Tungurahua Volcano - Ecuador

This situation report is based on information provided by the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Ecuador, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), the IFRC and media reports.

Situation

1. According to the National Geophysical Institute of Ecuador, the activity of Tungurahua volcano continues to be high; however it has decreased in intensity. The volcano continues producing explosions with small amounts of ash, steam and gas columns. Due to bad weather conditions, visual monitoring of the volcano has been difficult.

2. Furthermore, the National Geophysical Institute stated that the volcano eruption process is in its initial phase and it is possible that this volcanic behaviour could continue for the following weeks or months.

Impact & Needs

3. According to the Ecuadorian Civil Defence approximately 13,000 people have been severely affected by the eruption. At the moment, only 815 are settled in shelters in Tungurahua. In the province of Chimborazo, which has been the most affected area, most of the evacuated people are living with relatives or friends.

4. No fatalities have been reported to date, but there have been cases of minor respiratory and gastrointestinal problems as well as minor burns and trauma.

5. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, agriculture and livestock have been severely affected. Approximately 20,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo.

National response

6. The emergency is being addressed by the Provincial Emergency Operations Committee in Tungurahua and Chimborazo with the support of the National Police, the Army and provincial authorities. Cantonal Emergency Operations Committees are also activated in Tisaleo, Cevallos, Quero, Mocha, Pelileo, and Baños in Tungurahua, and Penipe and Guano in Chimborazo.

7. The Ecuadorian Civil Defense is receiving generous donations from the civil society and coordinating its distribution. Donations consist of food, and non-food items such as blankets, cooking utensils and clothing.

8. The Government has allocated an emergency fund of USD 500,000 to the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo to cover relief operations. The Government also offered USD 4,500,000 for rehabilitation projects in the affected areas. It is also analyzing the possibility to relocate affected population in safe areas for the long run. Some agreements with local authorities regarding this issue have already taken place.

International response

9. The United Nations Emergency Technical Team (UNETE) continues to coordinate with provincial authorities, the Civil Defense, and the Red Cross. The UNCT is being informed continuously on new developments of the situation.

10. WHO/PAHO in collaboration with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, has implemented a logistics support system in Chimborazo, in order to coordinate the distribution of food and non-food items.

11. According to the IFRC, a DREF allocation of up to USD 68,079 has been agreed. This stand-by amount could be spent depending on outstanding funding needs for this operation. A Disaster Management Delegate from the Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) is in-country supporting the National Society.

12. WFP and the Ecuadorian Civil Defense are assessing food security needs in the affected areas.

13. UNICEF in cooperation with the Red Cross, Save the Children-Spain, CRS, and the Universidad Salesiana are providing psychosocial assistance to children in shelters.

14. JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) has provided emergency assistance in response to a request for emergency relief supplies addressed by the Ecuadorian Government to Japan's Foreign Ministry. The supplies worth around USD 87,000, consisting of cold-weather tents, plastic water containers, water tanks, water purifiers, groundsheets and electrical generators.

15. The Spanish NGO "Firemen without Borders" donated and installed a water purifying plant in Chimborazo, as well as medicines and other items.

16. UNETE continues to coordinate activities with international and local NGOs, and also working on the elaboration of an early recovery strategy for the provinces of Chimborazo and Tungurahua.

17. OCHA remains in close contact with the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ecuador and will provide further information as it becomes available.

18. This situation report, together with additional information on other ongoing emergencies, is also available on http://www.reliefweb.int.

MAP: Ecuador: Tungurahua volcano - Situation map

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Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
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In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

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Ms. Isabel Garcia-Gill
E-mail: garcia-gill@un.org
Direct Tel: +41 22 917 15 49

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Direct Tel. + 41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Direct Tel. +1-917-367 51 26

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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