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Ecuador Volcano Victims To Get Food Aid

UN Food Agency To Provide Assistance To Victims Of Tungurahua Volcano In Ecuador

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it will distribute rations among 25,000 people that were evacuated in the Andean region after the Tungurahua volcano erupted earlier this month affecting more than 100,000 people affected in six provinces of Ecuador.

Tungurahua volcano, located 135 kilometres southeast of the capital Quito, in central Ecuador, began erupting on 16 August with explosions producing abundant massive clouds of ash, steam and gas, as well as abundant lava and pyroclastic flows, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Ash clouds moved to surrounding areas in a radius of 550 km, causing extensive environmental damage, killing five people, causing severe burns to 50 people and other injuries to a further 40, WFP said.

“The food assistance provided by WFP will allow people to use their remaining resources to help them rehabilitate their lives and rebuild their communities,” the agency’s Ecuador Representative, Helmut Rauch, said of the displaced people living in the volcano area, who are among the poorest in the country.

On 18 August, the Government of Ecuador called for international assistance to meet the immediate needs of the affected population and preliminary assessments have determined that there are satisfactory conditions in public shelters, where more than 100,000 people affected have sought refuge. The continuing humanitarian need is for dust masks, goggles, jerry cans, emergency medical kits, tents, blankets, and especially clean drinking water, food, kitchen sets and hygiene kits, OCHA said.

Since 20 August, the seismic activity has been decreasing, while the threat of further activity remains high and the volcano is being continually monitored by the National Geophysical Institute.

An assessment carried out by the Government and the United Nations estimated that 25,000 people who were evacuated to temporary shelters or went to stay with relatives or friends need further food assistance following the loss of houses, crops and livestock, after depletion of rations provided by the Government.
A total of 282 metric tons of food will be distributed to the victims in the temporary shelters and in affected villages in the provinces of Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Bolivar over the next three months, in close collaboration with the Civil Defence, Red Cross, the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), WFP said.

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) has been helping Ecuador to prepare for potential mudflows that could be triggered by high accumulations of ash and other materials on the volcano’s slopes.

Additionally, the ISDR has been requested to provide support for the modelling of potential mudflows that can be triggered by high accumulations of ash and other volcanic materials on the volcano’s slopes. According to ISDR, this type of study has been undertaken with great success for the Pichincha volcano, also in Ecuador, and is used to identify high-risk areas and support early warning and relief operations.


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