25,000 persons living in high risk areas such as Baños, Penipe, Puela and Bilboa were evacuated at the beginning of the activity. Due to lack of adequate response from the Government to their problems - Ecuador is going through an extremely difficult economic and political period - the population is, at their own risk, gradually returning to their homes and disregarding the warnings of the Government. Five thousand persons are now living permanently in the high-risk area. They are occupied with taking care of national and international tourism which continues - in spite of the danger - and constitutes the main source of income for the population. Due to the critical and risky situation the community has started to build their own contingency plan to confront an eventual eruption.
In December ACT reallocated some unspent funds from the *El Niño* emergency to support the work of an emergency committee of the Evangelical churches in Ecuador - which is working closely with the Latin America Council of Churches (CLAI) to provide help to the evacuated population. This emergency committee is helping the population in the risk area to build a contingency plan in case of eruption and to re-establish adequate co-ordination with the government. A proposal to support this plan is being elaborated.