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El Salvador declares national emergency following Tropical Storm Ida

2009-11-09

EL SALVADOR, 10 November 2009.- The combined force of Tropical Storm Ida and a low pressure system off the Pacific Coast, has led to a national emergency in El Salvador, where it made landfall over the weekend.

According to the latest official figures 140 people have lost their lives, 42 of them children. In addition 14,000 people are affected, mostly families in situations of poverty and social vulnerability, living in precarious dwellings close to river banks and in zones prone to flooding.

So far over 2000 families have been evacuated to 123 shelters which have been set up in community centres, sports facilities and schools. The numbers are expected to grow as there are 5000 people in need of evacuation who refuse to leave their homes out of fear of losing what little belongings they have left.

The government of El Salvador has appealed to the international community for aid and UNICEF´s office in El Salvador has begun the first phase of humanitarian assistance by providing 85,000 liters of bottled water, 3,300 recreational kits for children, 140 school-in-a-box kits and 3,250 personal hygiene kits for the affected families as well as 140 hygiene kits for the shelters.

The most affected departments are Verapaz, San Salvador, San Martin, La Libertad, La Paz and Cuscatlán. According to national authorities 355 mm of rainfall accumulated en the area of the San Vicente volcano, almost the same amount accumulated during four days of rain when Hurricane Stan made landfall here in 2005 leaving 74 deaths in its wake.

To support UNICEF’s relief efforts for children caught in emergencies, please donate to UNICEF Canada’s General Emergency Fund at www.unicef.ca or call us at 1-800-567-4483. UNICEF Canada raises funds for emergencies based on country needs. Should the total contributions exceed the funding needs for a certain emergency,the funds received will be reallocated to other UNICEF emergency programmes where the need is greatest.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.