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El Salvador's Emergency from Floods, Landslides

EL SALVADOR'S EMERGENCY FROM FLOODS, LANDSLIDES NOT YET OVER, UN OFFICE REPORTS

New York, Oct 18 2005 3:00PM

Although tens of thousands of people displaced in El Salvador by a volcanic eruption and severe flooding and landslides produced by hurricane Stan have begun to return home, there is still a risk of further flooding and landslides and it is premature to consider the emergency over, the United Nations reported today.

"Continued assistance remains necessary for the persons remaining in shelters, as well as for those who have returned," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update on the crisis, which at its height some two weeks ago saw more than 80,000 people seeking refuge in shelters. Many thousands more stayed with friends and family.

As of today, the National Emergency Council reported that the number of persons in 388 remaining shelters had dropped to just over 36,000 in the Central American country.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Government and military to plan for a second round of food distributions. The agency has already provided more than 300 tons of cereals, legumes, maize-soy meal and vegetable oil to 77,000 people in shelters and affected communities.

The Ministry of Health also indicates that ongoing treatment and preventive health services are needed. The main health problems in shelters are acute respiratory infections, skin problems, diarrhoea, anxiety disorders and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Working with the Government, the UN World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has provided psychosocial care to nearly 15,000 survivors, and has established a network of nutritionists to address food safety and prevent food poisoning.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has distributed chlorine tablets and oral rehydration salts.

2005-10-18 00:00:00.000

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