El Salvador

El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity Revised Appeal No. 05EA020

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Appeal
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In Brief

THIS REVISED EMERGENCY APPEAL SEEKS CHF 1,288,347 (USD 1,000,432 OR EUR 835,891) IN CASH, KIND, OR SERVICES TO ASSIST 21,000 BENEFICIARIES (4,200 FAMILIES) FOR 6 MONTHS

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).

- DISASTER RELIEF EMERGENCY FUND (DREF) ALLOCATED: CHF 149,400 (USD 114,820 OR EUR 96,262)

GIVEN THE RESULTS OF ASSESSMENTS AND THE MAJOR NEEDS OF VULNERABLE FAMILIES AFFECTED BY FLOODS AND VOLCANIC ACTIVITY, THE SALVADOREAN RED CROSS SOCIETY (SRC) DREW UP A "COUNTRY PLAN"; THIS APPEAL HAS BEEN REVISED TO INCLUDE A REHABILITATION COMPONENT WHICH FORMS PART OF THE OVERALL COUNTRY PLAN OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY.

The situation

El Salvador has been struck by two natural disasters in recent weeks. Firstly, the Ilamatepec volcano, which has shown increased activity in recent months, 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 has experienced heavy rains, flooding and landslides as a result of the passage of Hurricane Stan through the region. To date, rains brought on by Hurricane Stan have killed an estimated 747 people in Mexico and Central America, including 69 in El Salvador.

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-southwesterly 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.

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 km² of the country's coffee crops have been covered in ash and have likely been destroyed.

Some 20,000 people live in the area surrounding the volcano. In addition to the activity in the Ilamatepec Volcano, localized tremors have been 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 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 rainy season in El Salvador generally runs from the end of May through to the middle of October. This year, the rainy season began in mid May and has been particularly heavy; 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.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In El Salvador: Salvadorean Red Cross Society; email secretaria.ejecutiva@cruzrojasal.sv, phone (503) 219-2200, fax (503) 222-7758

In Panama, Nelson Castaño, Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit; email ifrcpa07@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316- 1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Panama, Gilberto Guevara, Head of Regional Delegation, e-mail: gilberto.guevara@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 (41 22) 730-4274, fax (41 22) 733-0392

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

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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