Central America flood and volcano adds to disaster woes - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 9, 2005

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Central America flood and volcano adds to disaster woes

-09/10/05

While international media attention is understandably focussed on the terrible earthquake effecting Pakistan and India this weekend, aid agencies are also trying to respond to the escalating disaster caused by Hurricane Stan in Central America and by the eruption of the Ilamatepec volcano in El Salvador.

The UK-based Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is especially concerned about the devastation caused by the flooding which has submerged the city San Salvador and wiped out villages.

CAFOD says the crisis is on the same magnitude as that created by Hurricane Mitch in 2001. The agency has initially pledged £100,000 to its partners in El Salvador, who are battling to provide food, clean water, medicine and shelter to some of the 33,000 people who have been evacuated and are living in temporary shelters.

So far, 54 people are officially reported dead, with numbers rising as mudslides occur all over the country and the true scale of destruction becomes clear in the more rural areas. People are already developing hypothermia due to exposure to the rain.

Central America expert Sarah Smith Pearse from CAFOD said: ìIt is vital the international community realise the dimension of this crisis and act quickly. Countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala do not have the infrastructure, the money or resources in place to deal with such a large-scale disaster.î

She adds: ìAs always it is the poorest of the poor who are suffering the most, as their mud and wattle houses cannot withstand such an onslaught of rain. Thousands have lost their livestock and crops and their future livelihoods have been washed away.î

The Salvadorian parliament has declared a state of national calamity as the crises worsens with reports of more heavy downpours to come and increased seismic activity around the volcano that erupted only last week.

Survivor Jesus Reyes Fuentes from the Romero community village explained: ìI think that now itís worse than Hurricane Mitch. The crops, the chickens the ducks have all been lost and destroyed. People are taking their livestock onto the road. During Mitch at least some areas of maize werenít flooded but now everywhere is flooded.î

CAFOD partner Caritas El Salvador is part of the emergency response team. It says the roads are becoming blocked with people and livestock as they try to escape their villages and move to higher, safer ground. Their situation is perilous as flooding and mudslides affect almost every part of the country.

[Donations can be made to CAFOD here]

Find books now:

Central America flood and volcano adds to disaster woes

-09/10/05

While international media attention is understandably focussed on the terrible earthquake effecting Pakistan and India this weekend, aid agencies are also trying to respond to the escalating disaster caused by Hurricane Stan in Central America and by the eruption of the Ilamatepec volcano in El Salvador.

The UK-based Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is especially concerned about the devastation caused by the flooding which has submerged the city San Salvador and wiped out villages.

CAFOD says the crisis is on the same magnitude as that created by Hurricane Mitch in 2001. The agency has initially pledged £100,000 to its partners in El Salvador, who are battling to provide food, clean water, medicine and shelter to some of the 33,000 people who have been evacuated and are living in temporary shelters.

So far, 54 people are officially reported dead, with numbers rising as mudslides occur all over the country and the true scale of destruction becomes clear in the more rural areas. People are already developing hypothermia due to exposure to the rain.

Central America expert Sarah Smith Pearse from CAFOD said: 'It is vital the international community realise the dimension of this crisis and act quickly. Countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala do not have the infrastructure, the money or resources in place to deal with such a large-scale disaster.'

She adds: 'As always it is the poorest of the poor who are suffering the most, as their mud and wattle houses cannot withstand such an onslaught of rain. Thousands have lost their livestock and crops and their future livelihoods have been washed away.'

The Salvadorian parliament has declared a state of national calamity as the crises worsens with reports of more heavy downpours to come and increased seismic activity around the volcano that erupted only last week.

Survivor Jesus Reyes Fuentes from the Romero community village explained: 'I think that now it's worse than Hurricane Mitch. The crops, the chickens the ducks have all been lost and destroyed. People are taking their livestock onto the road. During Mitch at least some areas of maize weren't flooded but now everywhere is flooded.'

CAFOD partner Caritas El Salvador is part of the emergency response team. It says the roads are becoming blocked with people and livestock as they try to escape their villages and move to higher, safer ground. Their situation is perilous as flooding and mudslides affect almost every part of the country.

[Donations can be made to CAFOD here]

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