Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

Ecuador Red Cross assists residents threatened by volcanic ash

22/09/2020 - by the Climate Centre

(This story is an IFRC press release issued earlier today. It has been edited slightly here for length.)

Since the activity of Sangay volcano has being increasing from early hours of September 20, the Ecuadorian Red Cross has activated the early action protocol (EAP) with emergency funds from the IFRC, which will allow it to immediately assist 1,000 families in rural communities that are being most affected.

“The first actions have been by our volunteers in Chimborazo, Bolivar and Guayas to participate in the local Emergency Operations Committees,” said Roger Zambrano, National Coordinator of Risk Management and Emergency and Disaster Response of the Ecuadorian Red Cross.

From the provincial branches, teams of volunteers were activated for damage assessment and needs analysis.

In Bolivar, one of the most affected provinces, supplies such as masks were delivered,

Due to the ash deposit threshold, the Ecuadorian Red Cross will deliver 1,000 family health kits – N95 masks and eye protection glasses for adults and children, and 1,000 thousand animal protection kits, consisting of plastic tarps and tools so that communities can protect their animals or their crops.

Ash forecasts

A cash transfer programme will be activated through the delivery of IFRC debit cards.

Since 2019, the EAP allows the Ecuadorian Red Cross to access funds to be prepared for an event of this nature, and to be able to take early actions immediately.

The objective is to establish adequate early actions, using volcanic ash forecasts, which allow actions to be taken to protect the most vulnerable families and their livelihoods.

With this type of intervention, the aim is to better understand disaster risks, prevent their impacts if possible, and reduce suffering and human losses.

“We cannot prevent the occurrence of natural hazards, but we can use the information available to anticipate their consequences whenever possible,” added Ines Brill, head of the IFRC Delegation for Andean Countries.

“Early action and effective preparedness can save people and their livelihoods.”

A Ecuador resident affected by new and potentially hazardous activity of the Sangay volcano. The Red Cross is mobilizing teams of technicians and volunteers in at least three provinces. (Photo: CRE)