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UN Agency Rushes More Food To Hurricane Victims

UN Agency Rushes More Food To Hurricane Victims In Remote Parts Of Central America

New York, Oct 13 2005

The United Nations food agency has provided urgently needed food to thousands of hard-hit hurricane victims in Guatemala and El Salvador, including tons of energy biscuits airlifted to remote areas.

In the continuing aftermath of torrential rains and ensuing landslides in the Guatemalan highlands, 652 people are now confirmed dead and thousands missing while, entire villages have been declared mass graves by their few surviving inhabitants after digging for bodies had to be abandoned, according to the UN World Food Programme (<"http://www.wfp.org/english/?ModuleID=137&Key=1860">WFP).

The agency sent out an additional three tons of high energy biscuits on Tuesday with air support from the Honduran Government, adding to its previous delivery of five tons.

Until recently, low clouds prevented aircraft from flying to the hillside communities, the region's poorest. "Hundreds of people have been cut off without assistance for up to four days," said WFP Country Director in Guatemala Guillermina Segura. The high energy biscuits will keep people going until the agency can provide more substantial sustenance, she added.

So far WFP has provided 1,600 tons of food to the Guatemalan Government, enough to feed some 70,000 families, but their needs are expected to increase by next week.

In El Salvador, the WFP has dispatched 304 tons of cereals, lentils, corn soya blend and oil to 77,000 people in shelters and other communities in coordination with the Government. The agency has also reached out to isolated communities in El Salvador, particularly to the Island of San Sebastian, Usulutan in River Lempa delta with support from the Salvadoran Navy, and boats from the Swedish Rescue Agency.

Some 70,000 people have been evacuated to over 600 shelters following the flooding and earlier eruption of the volcano Santa Ana in El Salvador, which killed 74 people.

ENDS

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