El Salvador

El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity Appeal No. 05EA020 Operations Update No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published


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In Brief

Appeal No. 05EA020; Operations Update no. 01; Period covered: 25 October to 14 December 2005; Appeal coverage: 48.3 %; (click here to go directly to the attached Contributions List, also available on the website).

Appeal history:

Launched on 6 October 2005 for CHF 487,000 (USD 379,798 OR EUR 315,055) for 4 months to assist 21,000 beneficiaries (4,200 families).

Revised Appeal launched on 24 October 2005 for CHF 1,288,347 (USD 1,000,432 or EUR 835,891) to assist 21,000 beneficiaries (4,200 families) for 6 months.

Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 149,400 (USD 114,820 OR EUR 96,262)

Outstanding needs: CHF 666,292 (USD 520,982 or EUR 432,895)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Central America, Mexico and Haiti: Floods from Hurricane Stan Appeal 05EA021; Central America: Annual Appeal (Appeal 05AA043); Pan American Disaster Response Unit: Annual Appeal (Appeal 05AA040)

Operational Summary:

Immediately following the emergencies, the Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRC) began distributing relief items in the municipalities of El Congo, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Izalco, Armenia, Nahuizalco, and Juayua. In total, 1,412 families were reached in the initial days of the disasters with food kits, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, blankets and drinking water. Families also received psychosocial support. The Federation and the SRC launched an emergency appeal on 6 October, which was revised on 24 October to reflect the increased needs of the population. To date, the SRC has assisted 8,555 vulnerable families affected by the floods and volcanic activity through the distribution of food and non-food items, including hygiene kits, kitchen sets, blankets, buckets, plastic sheeting and mattresses, with contributions provided by the Federation, the Spanish Red Cross with ECHO funding, the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation, the Swiss Red Cross and other national donors. Distributions of relief goods funded by the German Red Cross are scheduled to begin shortly. Following the recent receipt of additional funding in response to the Federation's Appeal, the SRC is now completing plans to begin a number of activities under the rehabilitation component of the Appeal, which forms part of the overall country plan of the National Society. The additional funding will go towards the rehabilitation of water systems, the provision of family educational kits, the improvement of radio communications and the distribution of volunteer kits consisting of disaster operations equipment. Despite these recent funding contributions, the Appeal coverage stands at only 48.3 percent and additional funding is required in order to implement the Appeal objectives in their entirety. As a result of the current funding levels and the slow response to the Appeal, the timeframe of the operation will be extended for an additional month until 6 May 2006.

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

The situation

In October, 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 just after 8:30 a.m. (1430 GMT) on Saturday, 1 October. Military emergency sirens blasted, calling for an immediate area evacuation of the nearby towns and soon after the volcano began hurling glowing lava and ash from its crater. 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. Hot lava rocks expelled by the volcano ranged from the size of a football to the size of a car. Layers of ash up to five millimetres thick spread over the canton of Los Naranjos, to the west of the volcano. 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.

Officials with the National Emergency Committee said that by 1 p.m. Saturday 1 October 2,250 people had been evacuated from the danger zone and at least seven people were injured by red hot lava rocks spewed into the air by the eruption, according to the national police. Two people were killed when 200 residents were evacuated from the town of Palo Campana, located just two kilometres from the crater. Residents fled aboard trucks when a flood of boiling water from an underground lake rushed down from the crater from three directions. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that some 7,000 km=B2 of the country's coffee crops have been covered in ash and have likely been destroyed.

In addition to the activity in the Ilamatepec Volcano, localized tremors were detected in the Chaparrastique Volcano, in the department of San Miguel, according to the National Service of Territorial Studies (SNET). The

Chaparrastique Volcano, also known as the San Miguel Volcano, has been one of the most active volcanoes in El Salvador in recent years.

El Salvador 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 Atlantic hurricane 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 SNET, the country received 500 percent more rain during September than the historical average for that month. In addition, in May the country experienced heavy rains due to the passage of the first hurricane of the hurricane season in the eastern north Pacific. COEN declared a red alert as the intense rains caused severe flooding in many areas of the country. The National Legislative Assembly also declared a State of Public Calamity and National Disaster, effective 4 October 2005.

The heavy rains caused several of the country's rivers and lakes to overflow, causing flooding in the following 12 departments:

Paz, Carasucia, El Rosario, Los Zanjones El Chino and Aguacate, Sacramento
La Libertad
Sucio, Perla, Majahual, Colón, Cosamagua, Chilama, Huiza, Tihuapa and Sunzal
La Paz
Comalapa, comapa, Jiboa, Afluentes Tilapa y Sepaquiapa, Jalponga, Amayo, Sapuyo, Guayabo con sus afluentes San Antonio and Aguacate
La Unión
Sirama, Goascorán, Pasaquina and Santa Rosa
San Francisco, San Carlos and Corola
San Salvador
Guazapa, Las Cañas, Acelhuate and its tributaries in the metropolitan area of San Salvador
San Vicente
Suncita, San Pedro, Sensunapán, Ceniza, Apancoyo and Ayacachapa
Usulután y San Miguel
Grande de San Miguel and smaller tributaries
Santa Ana
Lago Coatepeque and Lago de Guija
San Miguel
Laguna de Olomeda
San Salvador
Lago de Ilopango

The Salvadorean Red Cross Society, 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.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In El Salvador: Miguel Vega, National Director/Relief, Salvadorean Red Cross Society; email

miguel.vega@cruzrojasal.org.sv, phone (503) 219-2200, fax(503) 222-7758

In Panama, Alexandre Claudon, Acting, Head, Pan American Disaster Response Unit; email alexandre.claudon@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Panama, Roy Venegas, Disaster Preparedness Delegate, Panama Regional Delegation, e-mail: roy.venegas@ifrc.org phone (507) 317 13 00; fax (507) 317 13 04.

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

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

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