El Salvador

El Salvador: Earthquake Appeal No. 02/2001 Operations Update No. 22

Situation Report
Originally published


Appeal launched on 14 January 2001 for CHF 1,112,360 for 1 month. Revised on 24 January 2001 CHF 5,422,147 for 154,000 beneficiaries for 14 months. Budget revised on June 4 2001 to CHF 9,385,698 and operation extended until 31 December 2002; further extension of the operation until 31 December 2003.
Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: N/A

Period covered: 1 May to 30 September 2003

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 over 180 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org

In Brief

Appeal coverage: 112.1%; See the attached Contributions List for details.

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Central America Annual Appeal (Appeal 01.50/2003)

Operational Summary: During the period covered by this update, the Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRC) was faced with providing emergency and long term care to persons affected by a large increase in the number of pneumonia cases in the country. The SRC was able to respond to this situation thanks to its improved organizational structure and successful health programmes. In addition, the Federation and the Salvadorean Red Cross Society have continued to review the national disaster plan, which provides the SRC with disaster and emergency guidelines, including modules for community based disaster preparedness. The SRC has made considerable advances in the area of disaster preparedness, including developing three training workshops for national intervention teams (NITs) with representatives from departmental branches and affiliated organizations throughout the country. The number of skilled volunteers within the SRC has significantly increased during the reporting period, through community and school brigades and through volunteer training workshops. These volunteers are working to make the branches of the SRC financially self -sustainable and towards reducing the vulnerability of their communities to health risks and disasters. The creation of a public relations and communications office within the National Society has improved Red Cross visibility in the region. As the end of the period of the appeal coverage approaches, certain projects related to the emergency appeal are now coming to a close, including the school brigade project and the integrated health project in Juayua, both of which have proved successful.

Operational developments

The unexpected increase in the number of pneumonia cases in the country prompted the Salvadoran government to declare a 30-day state of emergency on 24 July. According to the statistics from the Ministry of Health, during the first half of the year more than 300 people died from pneumonia, 60 per cent of whom were persons over 60 year s of age and 27 per cent of whom were persons under 9 years of age. In July and August, during the height of the epidemic, the network of national hospitals admitted 1,277 patients with pneumonia, the majority of which were children. There were several reasons for the rapid increase in the number of pneumonia cases, including biological and nutritional factors, environmental pollution, climate change and an inability to recognize the warning signs of severe respiratory infections. However, by the beginning of September, the epidemic was under control.

The Salvadorean Red Cross Society's response to the pneumonia crisis was managed from the SRC headquarters. This office, in coordination with the Federation, set up a strategy to respond to the epidemic that was based on the capacity of the National Society and on three projects that are currently being carried out. The first project facilitated the further development of communities already involved in community health projects. This project involved going door to door in these communities to increase awareness of the necessity of sanitary practices in order to prevent the spread of illnesses. The second area focused on providing logistical support in transporting patients from outlying branches to hospitals and the third area involved improving the level of services provided by the SRC through its clinic at the National Society headquarters.

In September, the National Society completed the final training of the technical health personnel that are working on projects to promote early detection and effective treatment of pneumonia.

The Federation is continuing its capacity building activities to improve the Salvadorean Red Cross Society's ability to respond to disasters. During the period covered by this update, the SRC made considerable advances in the area of disaster preparedness, including developing three training workshops for national intervention teams (NITs) with representatives from departmental branches and affiliated organizations throughout the country.

The national disaster plan is being updated, and significant progress has been made towards finalizing the theoretical framework of the 3000 Series of the national disaster plan. The National Society is now beginning to take the necessary steps in order to update the procedures and operational guidelines that the SRC will follow in cases of disaster or emergency.

During the reporting period, two projects were completed: the integrated health project in Juayua and the emergency school brigade project. Both projects achieved the objectives set out in the appeal whereby Red Cross efforts worked towards the reduction of vulnerability in the communities involved.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action - objectives, progress, impact

Health and Care

Objective 1: To improve directly and indirectly the health care for approximately 115,000 people living in the rural areas of three departments: Sonsonate, La Libertad and Santa Ana, by constructing or rehabilitating a total of 14 health posts and one Red Cross branch clinic.


This objective was achieved through the construction and organization of 14 health posts and one nutritional clinic and the implementation of activities. The health posts promote preventative health practices within the community by encouraging positive behaviour with regard to environmental sanitation, and mother and child health. The situation in the health post in Sonsonate has been monitored by the National Society and the results indicate that the post is functioning well. The Sonsonate post is also developing two preventative health brigades each month within the community.

The sustainability of these posts has been secured by a contract signed by the SRC, the Federation and the Ministry of Health that ensures that the Ministry of Health will act as a health promoter in order to assist the population in these areas.


The creation of health posts is positively impacting people living in 15 communities throughout the country. People living in these areas now have access to health care, and are also receiving training and education in preventative health measures. The creation of health brigades within these communities demonstrates that these projects are empowering residents to take ownership of their own health care.


This campaign has proceeded without problems, meeting beneficiaries' needs.

Objective 2: To improve the well being of the most vulnerable population of the country through the establishment and strengthening of the Salvadorean Red Cross Society's community health office at the national level in accordance with a five -year plan and five-year theoretical framework 2002 - 2006.


The National Society has now cemented its role as the coordinator of community health projects in El Salvador and, with the support of the Federation, has defined the basic elements of health projects, which consist of three components. With these basic elements, the SRC is attempting to move its community health projects towards a standardized model of integrated health care.

Basic Elements of Community Health

I. Integrated health care and family nutrition
a) Mother and child health integrated care programme
1. Reproductive health care for women
2. IMCI (Integrated management of childhood illnesses)
b) Family health promotion and education programme
c) Community mental health programme
d) Integrated nutrition programme
II. Community organization and citizens’ participation
III. Integrated environmental projects

During the reporting period, the National Society supported and monitored the health projects funded by PNSs. The Spanish Red Cross is promoting education and preventative health practices in the community through the El Carmen Health House Project. The Spanish Red Cross is also promoting the training and strengthening of health committees by recruiting volunteers from five communities in the department of Ahuachapan.

The Salvadorean Red Cross Society and the American Red Cross, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are working on the methodology, strategy and implementation of the integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI) programme in the municipalities of Nejapa, Panchimalco and Santiago Texacoangos. These three municipalities are participating in mother and child care activities. These groups are currently putting together presentations of the results of this programme.

The delegation of the French Red Cross (FRC) completed its mission in June having developed a project within the national development plan, supporting the Red Cross branch in Ciudad Arce by strengthening the branch's capacity to provide social assistance and integrated health care, including both preventative health and mental health care. The FRC project also worked to strengthen the disaster preparedness and prevention capacity of the branches in Ciudad Arce and La Libertad, both in the department of La Libertad. The disaster preparedness component of this project is benefiting a total of 867 people, 18 percent of whom are also benefiting from the mother and child care component of the project. In addition, community health committees have been formed in the communities of Los Mangos, Las Acostas, Las Cruces and El Ensayo, all of which now have the capacity to promote preventative health care throughout their respective communities.

As a follow up to these projects, the French Red Cross made an agreement with the Salvadorean and Spanish Red Cross Societies. The agreement states that these two National Societies will continue monitoring the technical and financial aspects of these projects. Equipment and furniture has been donated by the FRC to the Salvadorean Red Cross Society to be used in monitoring these projects.

The Empress Shoken Fund health project was started during this period with the participation of community members. The project had to be reformulated since it originally only included the health promotion component of the three basic elements of community health projects. In addition, the budget for this project had to be adjusted to correspond to the funding available. In order to guarantee the sustainability of the project throughout its expansion, the scope of the project was reduced from two branches to one. In addition, a technical coordinator for the project was hired. The National Society was supported in this process by the Federation.

The Federation was contacted by the European Union's Regional Programme for the Reconstruction of Central America (PRRAC) to help carry out a project for strengthening health care services. The project includes creating systems to provide potable water and improving environmental health in El Salvador. A total of 900 latrines are to be constructed in the western part of the country and educational health material addressing the environment will be distributed.

The management capacity of the National Society's community health office has been strengthened by the addition of a new community health director who had previously been the health officer for the Federation. This office has taken steps to raise funding for its programmes and is currently seeking funds through project proposal presentations to various groups, such as the Inter American Development Bank and the European Union. The National Society also recently began a dialogue with the Spanish International Cooperation Agency to analyze funding possibilities for health projects.