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UN urges aid for El Salvador following floods and volcanic eruptions

UN urges aid for El Salvador following floods and volcanic eruptions

Stepping up its efforts to help El Salvador confront the twin emergencies of disastrous flooding and volcanic eruptions, the United Nations is asking donors to contribute nearly $8 million to ensure the immediate survival of more than 50,000 displaced people now in shelters throughout the Central American country.

“Through this appeal, the UN System in El Salvador calls for multinational and bilateral cooperation agencies, government and private, to offer their immediate support to the relief and assistance efforts now being coordinated by the Government of El Salvador,” the UN Country Team said in its latest update on the torrential rains caused by Hurricane Stan and the effects of two eruptions of Ilamatepec volcano in the past week.

The joint UN effort involves numerous agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As part of its initial response UNICEF yesterday delivered 2,000 family hygiene kits calculated to meet the immediate needs of families of 5 members, 2,000 recreational kits for children from 6 to 12 years old who have been evacuated into shelters, hygiene kits with materials for personal hygiene and water purification, and 50,000 packages of oral rehydration salts.

After immediate actions in the coming weeks to ensure the survival of displaced people, the UN response will turn to addressing the wider needs of helping them to return to normalcy with particular concern for the recuperation of their family infrastructure, health and physical welfare, and livelihood recovery.

“Of highest priority will be the welfare of children and adolescents for whom a trauma of this magnitude can have profound and lasting effects,” the Team said of the disaster, which has so far claimed more than 60 lives.

Preliminary evaluations indicate the urgent need for providing shelter, food, basic hygiene, medical supplies and potable water to the affected population within the next days.

They also point to the total destruction of or damage to thousands of homes and other buildings, water and sanitation infrastructure, and livelihoods, which will require significant action in a second phase of the response after the rains stop and families begin to return to what is left of their homes.

“The joint UN response will seek to address both of these urgent levels of need, working in a holistic manner to meet both the necessities of families fleeing for their lives from the dual natural disasters occurring in El Salvador, as well as the equally imperative need for them to return to their homes and re-start their lives,” the Team said.