History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:
On 27 December 2006 CHF 60,000 (USD 49,710 or EUR 37,712) was allocated from the Federation's DREF to respond to the needs of this operation.
This operation is expected to be implemented for 2 months, and will be completed by 27 February 2007;
A DREF Bulletin Final Report (narrative and financial) will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 27 May 2007).
The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".
Global Agenda Goals:
Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.
Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.
Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.
Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.
Background and current situation
A seismic swarm became active on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at approximately 9:58 in the morning in the northern Department of Ahuachapán. The magnitude of the first tremor was of 3.3 on the Richter Scale with a depth of 5.4 km (Intensity level III) (1). Between 17 December 2006 and 15 January 2007, a total of 1,039 quakes have been registered in the department of Ahuachapán, of which approximately 157 were felt in the regions of Atiquizaya, Turín, San Lorenzo, Apaneca, Juayúa, among others. The strongest quake felt during this time period was registered on 20 December at 11:06 am in Atiquizaya and Turín at a magnitude of 4.6 on the Richter Scale with an intensity level between VI VII (2).
The quakes felt on 20 and 21 December have done the worst damage in terms of infrastructure; the numbers presented by the Ministry of Housing showed that in the five affected Municipalities 1,637 homes were damaged, of which 875 were severely damaged (uninhabitable), 512 were moderately damaged and 250 suffered minor damage. 80 percent of the damaged homes are in the rural zones and 20 percent in urban areas. The estimated affected population by the swarm stands at around 9,000 people.
The origin of this seismic cluster is attributed to the activation of local fault and is therefore not related to the recent activity of the Ilamatepec volcano or with the recent thermal activity in Ahuachapán.
Seismic swarms have been reported previously in this area, the most recent being in Turin and Atiquizaya on 7 13 of April 2005, registering 183 earthquakes of which 24 were felt by the population.
A state of emergency was declared by the president of El Salvador for five municipalities: Atiquizaya, Turin, San Lorenzo, Refugio and Ahuachapán; seeking to ensure emergency measures to improve the situation of thousands of victims in this zone. Following the reactivation of the swarm, Civil Protection declared a yellow alert in the five affected municipalities, which activated all national emergency response entities under the Civil Protection System.
Red Cross action
The Salvadorean Red Cross Society (SRCS) immediately mobilized National Intervention Team (NIT) members and volunteers from the local branches in Atiquizaya and Santa Ana, with an aim to provide initial response to the emergency situation by supporting activities such as needs assessments, the provision of immediate relief items and by monitoring the situation.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In El Salvador: Salvadorean Red Cross Society; email email@example.com, phone (503) 219-2200, fax (503) 222-7758
In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Head, Pan American Disaster Response Unit; e-mail Stephen.McAndrew@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316-1001; fax (507) 316-1082.
In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone (41 22) 730-4274, fax (41 22) 733-0392
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.
For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org
(1) Intensity level IIIThe tremor is noticed by some people inside buildings and only in some circumstances outside them, the vibration felt is similar to that caused when a light lorry passes. Very observant people may notice objects swing slightly.
(2) Intensity level VIIdifficulty maintaining standing position, is felt by drivers of moving vehicles, furniture breaks, visible and serious damage to building structures, waves in standing water.