Ecuador: Volcanic Eruption Appeal No. MDREC002 Operations Update No. 2


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: 30 August to 6 October 2006

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.

(Interim financial report to be attached shortly)

Appeal history:

- Launched on 23 August 2006 for CHF 632,064 (USD 514,753 OR EUR 400,384) for 5 months to assist 5,000 beneficiaries; (1,000 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, the Plan of Action and the budget have been revised to respond to the current needs of the affected communities in the Provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, which it seeks to assist. An additional 95 families have also been identified who are in need of help under the Appeal, and have been considered within the revised budget.

Activities have continued within the Ecuador Red Cross (ERC) Plan of Action, including the distribution of food packages, hygiene kits, domestic protection kits, provision of medical care and procurement of medicines, and psychosocial support to affected communities. The provision of education kits to children belonging to affected families is being coordinated with UNICEF. A water and sanitation Plan of Action has been developed based on the results on an assessment carried out and these activities are being coordinated with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), OXFAM and CARE International. Activities to ensure safe drinking water is available in the affected communities will take place shortly. In addition, the ERC has strengthened preparation and response mechanisms through a Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA) course for volunteers, procurement of protection kits for volunteers, the development of local contingency plans, improved telecommunications and the installation of early warning systems.

The ERC, with support of the Federation, is working on a recovery plan within the Plan of Action to pave the way for communities to return to their daily lives.

Federation support is being provided on the ground through a Disaster Management Officer from the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), together with a regional intervention team (RIT) member who are supporting the ERC in implementing the Plan of Action

The ERC, with support from the Federation, is working to ensure that the beneficiaries' needs are met through the activities being carried out and that contributions are utilized in the most effective manner. To date, the British Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross, the Chinese Red Cross, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Netherlands Red Cross and the Swiss Red Cross have directly contributed to the Federation's Appeal. In addition, the Spanish Red Cross and the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), through the American Red Cross, have pledged bilateral contributions towards activities which are within the framework or are complementary to the Appeal. The ERC has also received a number of national contributions, notably from Fundación Ecuador Mi País, Children International, Coca Cola and Oleoducto de Crudo y Pesado. The Ecuadorian public has also made contributions in the form of humanitarian aid. In addition, the Embassy of Malta has made a contribution as well as the Montecarlo Casino. In September a significant contribution was made to the Appeal through the Italian Government, contributing to almost complete coverage of the Appeal, ensuring support for the ERC in the implementation of the Plan of Action.

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.


Since 1999 the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been in an eruptive state. In May this year, the volcano began emitting loud and frequent explosions, showing an increase in activity, causing a limited state of emergency at the time. Tungurahua at 5,023 meters above sea level 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.

In response to the eruption in July, the Ecuadorian Red Cross activated its emergency Plan of Action and more than 240 volunteers were immediately mobilized to the area. On 19 July 2006 CHF 85,000 (USD 68,079 or EUR 54,092) were allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to the needs of this operation. The Plan of Action set out to assist 500 affected families (2,500 people), and later increased to 537 families.

On 16 August, the Tungurahua volcano erupted once again, this time with greater force. This eruption caused the emission of gases, ash and volcanic rock and pyroclastic flows to travel down ravines into nearby areas, damning two rivers. The cloud of ash from the eruption covered a major part of the country reaching 10 kilometres high. Nearby communities were covered in a blanket of ash and volcanic residues, causing people to abandon their homes and belongings. As many as 15,000 people were evacuated the day of the eruption, many of whom had lost their homes.

A state of emergency was declared in the four main Provinces affected by the volcanic eruption; Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Bolívar and Pastaza. On 17 August the Government declared the area a disaster zone to allow for immediate measures to be taken to provide emergency relief to those worst affected.

People affected by the eruption have shown breathing problems, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and acute diarrhoea since the eruption. A total of 405 families are currently staying in shelters since many have lost homes, crops and cattle after the recent events. The conditions of the shelters are adequate and the coordination for supporting activities is good. Safe drinking water has been provided, as well as food and medicine. Many families are living in their homes or returning to them during the day, while children remain at the shelters and are looked after by other community members. The evacuated population is living in temporary shelters in the following areas:

Name of shelter
Number of families
Under 18 years
Over 18 years
Over 60 years
Escuela de la Formación de Policías / Santa Ana de Baños
Albergue Hacienda Guadalupe
Huambaló # 3
San Juan de Cotaló
Escuela Pacifico Villagómez
Albergue Colegio Nacional de Penipe
Club Alianza
Escuela Julio Román
Campamento Cumandá

Information provided by The United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, presented to UNETE at the end of September

The impact on agriculture and the livelihoods of the communities that depend on this has been major. The Food and Agriculture Organization has now confirmed that the eruption in August affected 2,607,541 livestock and small animals and that 1,297,994 hectares of land have been affected causing damage to crops such as corn, potatoes, beans and barley.

On 21 September a small eruption was registered, causing a slight delay in distribution activities under the Plan of Action for safety measures. According to the National Geophysical Institute of Ecuador a moderate explosion was registered on 3 October, which was followed by a gas, steam and ash column (approximately 5 km high); ash fall was registered near the volcano in the surrounding areas of Baños, Runtún and Pondoa. This is the first explosion since that which took place on 16 August.

The intensity of the volcanic activity has decreased, however volcanic activity is still considered as moderate. Current cloudy weather has hindered monitoring of the volcano. The threat of reactivation remains high and the volcano continues to be under strict surveillance and the Geophysical Institute recommends that the population stays alert. The ERC is maintaining close contact with the Geophysical Institute in the event of a further eruption.

The Geophysical Institute stated that rain in the area could create movement in the pyroclastic flow deposits and cause problems for the local population and infrastructure. Recommendations have been made for people in the area take care when travelling on the roads that cross valleys where lava flows have come down and in areas affected by the volcano to date.

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

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 (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

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