El Salvador

El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity Appeal No. 05EA020 Operations Update No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published


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In Brief

Period covered: 15 December 2005 - 2 February 2006;

Appeal coverage: 48.3 %;

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.

- Operation extended by one month, until 6 May 2006, in mid December 2005.

- 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:

Over the last four months since volcanic activity and flooding hit El Salvador, the Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRC) has distributed food and non food relief items, including: food, hygiene, and kitchen kits, blankets, buckets, plastic sheeting, mattresses and drinking water in the municipalities of El Congo, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Izalco, Armenia, Nahuizalco, and Juayua. The National Society is carrying out activities outlined in the overall country plan, as funding permits, and to date has assisted 11,555 vulnerable families affected by the floods and volcanic activity with contributions provided by the Federation, the Spanish Red Cross with ECHO funding, the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation, the Swiss Red Cross, the German Red Cross and other national donors. The SRC is now initiating activities under the rehabilitation component of the Appeal, the most recent being the distribution of educational kits for 1,000 families whose children were relocated from high-risk communities near the Ilamatepec volcano and will now have school supplies for their use. Volunteers are being provided with boots and rain gear; radio equipment which will improve communications with the branches has been procured and is currently being installed. In addition, rehabilitation of water systems is planned, depending on the receipt of further funding. At present, nine schools are still being used as shelters by affected families and the commencement of the school year has been postponed. Furthermore, families affected by the disaster continue to drink untreated water, given that quantities of clean water are insufficient to meet their basic needs and the risk of intestinal illnesses and parasites is growing. The Appeal coverage stands at only 48.3 percent and additional funds are required to implement the Appeal objectives in their entirety.

The Salvadorean Red Cross Society is working in the framework of a two year "Country Plan" which the National Society drew up in order to address the needs resulting from the volcanic activity and floods emergencies. Should you be interested in receiving the El Salvador country plan for volcanic activity and floods in the wake of Hurricane Stan, please contact the National Society.

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 1October, 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 Saturday, 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.

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 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, 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 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, 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) 2 219-2200, fax(503) 222-7758

In Panama, Stephen McAndrew, Coordinator, Pan American Disaster Response Unit; email: Stephen.McAndrew@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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