El Salvador

El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity Appeal No. 05EA020 Interim 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 over 183 countries.
In Brief

Interim Final Report; Period covered: 6 October 2005 to 6 May 2006;

Appeal coverage: 51%.

Appeal history:

- Launched on 6 October 2005 for CHF 487,000 (USD 379,789 or EUR 315,055) for 4 months to assist 21,000 beneficiaries (4,200 families).

- Budget was increased to CHF 1,288,347 (USD 1,000,432 or EUR 835,891) and the operation was extendedb y 2m onths to 6 April 2006

- Operation extended by one month, until 6 May 2006, in mid December

- Operation extended by 4 monthson 6 May 2006until 6 September 2006; Final Report is therefore due on 6 December 2006.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 149,000 (USD 114,820 or EUR 96,262). 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.

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

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

Background and Summary

In October 2005, El Salvador was struck by two natural disasters, causing much suffering, hardship and, in many cases, separating individuals from their families. Firstly,the Ilamatepec volcano began hurling out hot lava rocks on 1 October, killing at least two people and forcing more than 2,000 to flee. Secondly, the country experienced heavy rains, flooding and landslides as a result of the passage of Hurricane Stan through the region in early October. Rains brought on by Hurricane Stan killed at least 69 people in 11 departments of El Salvador; 26 in La Libertad, 22 in San Salvador, 5 in La Paz, 4 in Usulutan, 3 in Sonsonate, 2 in Cuscatlan, 2 in San Vicente, 2 in Santa Ana, 1 in Ahuachapan, 1 in La Union and 1 in Morazan.

The Ilamatepec volcano, also known as Santa Ana, located 66 kilometres (41 miles) west of the capital, began rumbling and emitting thick plumes of smoke that reached more than 10 kilometres (nine miles ) into the sky on 1 October. The volcano began to expel magma on the side of the town of San Blas, while the ash was carried by a south-south-westerly wind. The municipalities of Nahuizalco and Juayua in the department of Sonsonate and La Hachadura in the department of Ahuachapan were also affected. The National Emergency Committee (COEN) declared a red alert in the area within 4,000 metres of the volcano, and a yellow alert in other nearby areas. Some 20,000 people live in the area surrounding the volcano.

The country was also seriously affected on 4 October by heavy rains when Hurricane Stan, at that time a category one hurricane, passed over the Gulf of Mexico, near the Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane Stan, the 18th named storm of an extremely busy Atlantichurricane season, first formed as a tropical depression off the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. It quickly strengthened to a tropical storm as it moved across the peninsula, bringing heavy rains to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and southern Mexico. The storm continued to build strength once it was again over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and became a category one hurricane just before coming ashore in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Rains brought by Stan were particularly heavy on the Pacific coast of Central America.

The rains from Hurricane Stan were compounded by a particularly heavy rainy season in El Salvador; according to the national service for territorial studies (SNET), the country received 500 percent more rain during September than the historical average for that month. In addition, the country had previously experienced heavy rains in May 2005 due to the passage of the first hurricane of the hurricane season in the eastern north Pacific. Following the passage of Hurricane Stan, COEN declared a red alert as the intense rains caused severe flooding in many areas of the country and several of the country's rivers and lakes overflowed, resulting in flooding in 12 departments. The National Legislative Assembly also declared a State of Public Calamity and National Disaster, effective 4 October 2005.

The Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRC), in coordination with other relief agencies, evacuated thousands of people affected by the flooding and volcanic activity and transported them to shelters that were set up in the affected areas. At the height of the emergency, 69,603 people were accommodated in 653 shelters in 14 departments. To date, the majority of the evacuated people have now been able to leave the shelters and return to their homes. It is m i portant to consider that many families who live near the foot of the volcano have decided to return to their homes, despite warnings of the possibility of renewed volcanic activity, and preventive action must be taken to avoid potential danger. At present, there are approximately 12 makeshift shelters still operating, however, schools used as shelters have now been reopened and classes have resumed.

Despite the fact that many shelter residents have been able to return to their homes, there is still a high level of need among the affected population and funding allocated towards the rehabilitation phase is being utilized for the rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems, for the provision of medical and dental care together with local government health unitsto communities in the municipality of Panchimalco in the Department of San Salvador and for the improvement of the disaster response capacity of branches by strengthening radio communication systems.


The Salvadorean Red Cross Society is part of the National Emergency System (SISNAE), which coordinates all disaster response activities on behalf of the Salvadoran government through the Emergency Operations Centre. The SRC emergency response to the disaster situation was successful given efficient coordination with international organizations, including the United Nations agencies and a number of NGOs present in the country. Funding was received both bilaterally and through the Federation via the appeal, and there was a close coordination of efforts between the Panama Regional Delegation, the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), bilateral donors, including the German, Spanish and Swiss Red CrossSocieties, the Spanish International Cooperation Agency, and the Salvadorean Red Cross Society.

Working within the framework of the Appeal, to date, bilateral and multilateral Federation activities have benefited almost 12,000 affected families. The Salvadorean Red Cross Society continues to implement the rehabilitation phase of this operation, with the support of recent donations towards the Appeal.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In El Salvador: Miguel Vega, National Relief Director, Salvadorean Red Cross Society, San Salvador; phone (503) 2 219-2200, fax(503) 222-7758, email miguel.vega@cruzrojasal.org.sv

In Guatemala: Roy Venegas, Regional Coordinator of Hurricane Stan and El Salvador Floods & Volcano Operations, Guatemala City; phone (502) 2220-0672, fax (502) 22380091, email roy.venegas@ifrc.org

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

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; phone 4122) ( 730-4274, fax (41 22) 733-0392, email luis.luna@ifrc.org

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.

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