Ecuador: Volcanic Eruption Appeal No. MDREC002 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


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: 23 August 2006 to 23 January 2007

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 people (1,095 families).

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

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's 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 and Summary

The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador, which lies at 5,023 metres above sea level and 180km southeast of Quito, began a new eruptive cycle in 1999 after lying dormant for eight decades. In 2006, the volcano showed increased activity and erupted in May and July. Another, more intense eruption occurred in August, spewing ash up to 15 kilometres high, leaving a thick blanket of ash and volcanic residue on nearby communities' homes, land and crops. The eruption caused major damage to nearby areas, affecting up to 300,000 people in the four surrounding Provinces of Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Bolívar and Pastaza. This eruption resulted in the evacuation of 19,000 people from their homes. In addition to falling ash and residues, lava flows from the volcano caused the Chambo and Puela rivers to dam and flood nearby areas. The Government of Ecuador declared the area a disaster zone, particularly in the four main provinces severely affected by the volcanic eruption.

The impact of the eruption on the communities living near the Tungurahua volcano was severe. Health issues were registered directly related to the eruption such as respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and acute diarrhoea. Falling ash after the eruption impeded access to clean drinking water. The psychological impact on communities was also serious, as the eruption and ongoing volcanic activity left communities feeling insecure. In addition, agricultural activities were severely affected; according to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 23,000 hectares of crops and 40,000 heads of cattle - on which small farmers depend as a means of living - were destroyed or lost. It was estimated that the land affected by the volcanic eruption could take up to a year to recover. Roads and electricity were cut off by mud slides from the overflowing rivers and by falling ash, making access to the areas difficult.

After the eruption in July 2006, the Ecuadorian Red Cross (ERC) responded to the situation by activating the emergency Plan of Action at the branch and national level and mobilized more than 240 volunteers to the area. In July, a total of CHF 85,000 (USD 68,079 or EUR 54,092) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the ERC Plan of Action, initially set out to assist 537 affected families (2,685 people). After the second, larger eruption, the ERC expanded the Plan of Action to respond to the increased needs of the communities living in the areas surrounding the volcano.

The volcanic eruption in August led the ERC to expand their Plan of Action and launch with the support of the Federation an International Emergency Appeal for CHF 632,064 (USD 514,753 OR EUR 400,384) for a period of 5 months to assist 1,095 families (5,475 people) in the affected Provinces of Chimborazo and Tungurahua. Damage and Needs Assessments (DANA) carried out by the ERC allowed for the identification of families that had been worst affected by the volcanic eruption and those whose income generating activities had been most affected, to be assisted by the Plan of Action. The following actions were included in this Plan: provision of food packages, hygiene kits, cleaning kits and education kits; medical care and safe drinking water, family linking, provision of domestic protection kits and strengthening the ERC capacity in response and preparedness.

The ERC has previous experience working with communities in the area surrounding the Tungurahua volcano, dating from 1999, on a number of initiatives in disaster preparedness, early warning systems, reactivation of the agricultural sector, primary health care, ERC institutional strengthening and humanitarian assistance.

Since this eruption, the ERC has been supporting the design of resettlement strategies for 50 families in Nabuso Pasuca area, close to Penipe, in coordination with local governments and other local and national institutions. These families will each benefit from a 56m2 house with all basic needs met.

In support of early recovery actions, the ERC, in close collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, decided to set up a project for the creation of garden allotments for 388 rural families from Chimborazo and Tungurahua, affected by the volcanic eruption. 400 m2 (20 x 20 metres) of land was provided for the cultivation of vegetables, cereals and fruit trees. The project foresees the installation of an irrigation system to support the gardening activities.

Since the eruption in August the volcano has shown further signs of activity, as confirmed by the Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute. The latest activity was reported in March 2007, where seismic activity, explosions and emissions of ash were registered. Communities continue to live near the active volcano, unsure of their future.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- In Ecuador: Ecuadorian Red Cross, Felipe Bazán, National Relief Director, Quito; phone 593-2-2954587; fax 593-2-295-72-56; mobile phone 593-9-8371632; email In Lima, Peru: Giorgio Ferrario, Head of Regional Delegation, email, 'phone (511) 221 9006, fax (511) 441-3607

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

- In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, e-mail:, 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 (NGO's) 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

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.