El Salvador + 1 more

UK gives £0.46 million to help victims of Central American floods

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Relief efforts in Guatemala and El Salvador to help victims of the recent devastating floods and mudslides will benefit from a =A3463,000 contribution announced today by UK International Development Minister, Gareth Thomas.

The funds announced today comprise =A3253,000 to be channelled through two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the =A3210,000 already provided by the UK as part of the emergency relief from the European Commission's Humanitarian Office (ECHO).

The floods have claimed over 800 lives across the region, almost 670 of these in Guatemala, leaving about 60,000 and 44,000 people in shelters in Guatemala and El Salvador respectively. Over 2.5 million people are affected throughout the region.

UK International Development Minister, Gareth Thomas, said:

"We have all seen the terrible images of towns and villages overwhelmed by floods and mudslides in Central America. The thousands of people who have lost loved ones and seen their homes washed away are looking to their own governments and the international community for help. Their immediate need is to get clean water, food, medicine and shelter. The UK will work with our partners in the European Commission and several aid agencies to ensure our contribution is turned into practical help in Guatemala and El Salvador."

The funding announced today will be spent as follows:

=A3150,000 - for Care International to buy food, including staples such as rice and milk, and help the government assess the most urgent needs in western Guatemala (=A3100,000 for Guatemala, =A350,000 for El Salvador)

=A3103,000 - for Plan International to buy medicines and water purification materials and continue working with the local authorities, the United Nations (UN) and NGOs to ensure relief is well coordinated (=A372,000 for Guatemala, =A331,000 for El Salvador).

The European Commission's overall response will provide basic needs through the provision of hygiene kits, food rations, water and health care for 6,000 families in the two countries. In total, more than 30,000 people will benefit from the European Commission's assistance.

This support will help support the initial relief effort over the next three months.

Notes to Editors

1. Guatemala and El Salvador have been badly affected by floods and landslides after Hurricane Stan struck Mexico on 4th October and further needs have arisen in El Salvador following the eruption of the Llamatepec volcano on 1st October. Hurricane Stan brought a large amount of water with it increasing rainfall for this time of year. This has led to rivers overflowing, flooding of low-lying areas and landslides which have blocked roads and isolated many communities.

2. Other countries to provide support include Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

3. For further information please contact the DFID press office on 020 7023 0600 (24 hour number) or pressoffice@dfid.gov.uk