Ecuador

Ecuador: Vocanic Eruption Appeal No. MDREC002 Operations Update No. 3

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered: 7 October 2006 to 4 January 2007;

Appeal target: CHF 632,064 (USD 514,753 OR EUR 400,384); see the operational summary below for a list of current donors to the Appeal. Coverage percentage to be confirmed.

(The Contributions List is currently being compiled and will be available on the website in due course, along with an Interim Financial Report)

Appeal history:

- Launched on 23 August 2006 for CHF 632,064 (USD 514,753 OR EUR 400,384) for 5 months to assist 5,475 beneficiaries; (1,095 beneficiary families)

- Final Report is therefore due on 23 April 2007.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 85,000 (USD 68,079 or EUR 54,092).

Operational Summary:

During this period, activities have continued within the Ecuadorian Red Cross's (ERC) Plan of Action to respond to the needs of 1,095 families (5,475 people) who were affected by the volcanic eruption in August. The number of beneficiaries has been revised within the Plan of Action and the budget. All families were identified as those worst affected by the eruption in the Provinces of Chimborazo and Tungurahua.

The following activities have taken place during this period: distribution of food packages, hygiene kits and cleaning kits to families and education kits and basic hygiene kits to children; provision of pre-hospital care to communities by medical brigades on two three-day visits to Chimborazo and Tungurahua; water and sanitation activities have been underway and chlorinating machines have been distributed to four communities; psychosocial support activities have taken place in benefit of ERC volunteers and affected communities; strengthening of the National Society's response capacity has continued and proven effective in the implementation of activities.

Coordination has been ongoing with Partner National Societies (PNS) and with external actors such as European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), the Ecuadorian Government and Civil Defence.

Contributions to the Appeal received from British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross Society, Monaco Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross and Swiss Red Cross have directly contributed to the Federation's Appeal. In addition, the Italian Government made a significant contribution leading to almost complete coverage of the Appeal.

Several bilateral contributions have been made to the ERC in support of activities, private and individual contributions have also been made to support the families affected. Bilateral contributions towards the ERC's Plan of Action include those from the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)- through the American Red Cross- the Chinese Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross, Children International, Fundacion Ecuador Mi Pais, Casino Montecarlo, Embassy of Malta, Polish Consulate, Women's Foundation Soroptimist, Association of Ecuadorians Resident in Holland, Coca Cola and Oleoducto de Crudo y Pescado.

The Ecuadorian Red Cross has significantly contributed to the Plan of Action through logistics and technical support.

Total contributions, both through the Appeal and bilateral, have ensured almost complete coverage of the budgeted amount. Although almost all funds have been spent following the Plan of Action's schedule, this has yet to be shown in the Balance of Funds, as the National Society is finalizing accounts. An updated contributions list will be available in due course.

The ERC, with support from the Federation, is working to ensure that beneficiaries' needs are met through the activities being carried out and that contributions are utilized in the most effective manner.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background

Since reawakening seven years ago, the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador - at 5,023 meters above sea level - has been in an eruptive state throughout 2006. In May, the volcano began emitting loud and frequent explosions, showing increased activity and causing a limited state of emergency at the time. Tungurahua erupted again in July 2006, spewing ash and molten rock up to 15 kilometres high. The Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute confirmed that the volcano had changed its behaviour significantly by expelling four new lava flows.

The Ecuadorian Red Cross activated its emergency Plan of Action in response to this eruption, mobilising more than 240 volunteers to the area. In July, CHF 85,000 (USD 68,079 or EUR 54,092) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the 537 families (2,685 people) affected and the needs of the operation.

On 16 August, the Tungurahua volcano erupted with greater force causing the emission of gases, ash, volcanic rock and pyroclastic flows to travel into nearby areas, damming two rivers. The cloud of ash from the eruption reached 10 kilometres high and covered nearby communities in a blanket of ash and volcanic residues, causing people to abandon their homes. As many as 15,000 people were evacuated on the day of the eruption. As a result the Ecuadorian Government declared a state of emergency in the four main Provinces affected by the volcanic eruption: Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Bolívar and Pastaza. The day after the eruption, the Government declared the area a disaster zone to allow for immediate measures to be taken to provide emergency relief to those worst affected.

The impact of the eruption has been widespread. After the eruption families were displaced and evacuated to shelters, some even lost their homes. A number of health problems have been registered such as breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and acute diarrhoea. The eruption also caused a significant impact on agriculture and thereby the livelihoods of the communities that depend on this. The Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed that the August eruption affected 2,607,541 livestock and small animals and 1,297,994 hectares of land, causing damage to crops such as corn, potatoes, beans and barley.

After having carried out surveys to identify the beneficiary families in the ERC Plan of Action, it was decided that support should focus on families from areas worst affected by the eruption and those whose income-generating activities were negatively impacted.

In September and October the volcano continued to show activity, minor eruptions and the emission of gases and ash were registered. Ash fell in communities located near the volcano in the areas of Baños, Runtún and Pondoa.

On 18 October, a significant increase in activity was registered in the Tungurahua volcano, producing clouds of ash up to 3 km high and a flow of lava leading to the evacuation of 300 people. Ongoing monitoring of the volcano is taking place and up to this date the volcano has not increased activity further.

In November and December the volcano has remained moderately active, showing seismic movements, emission of gases and ash and volcanic tremors according to the Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute. Recent reports show there have been no further eruptions in December, and although volcanic activity has decreased, the Geophysics Institute recommends that authorities and local population remain alert to any change.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Ecuador: Ecuadorian Red Cross, Jorge Arteaga López, National Relief Director, Quito; phone 593-2-2954587; fax 593-2-295-72-56; mobile phone 593-9-8371632; email jarteaga@cruzroja.org.ec

In Lima, Peru: Giorgio Ferrario, Head of Regional Delegation, email giorgio.ferrario@ifrc.org, 'phone (511) 221 9006, fax (511) 441-3607

In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Coordinator, Federation Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) Panama; email stephen.mcandrew@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, e-mail: olaug.bergseth@ifrc.org, phone:41-22-730-4535, fax: 41-22-733-0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org