Emergency Aid for El Salvador Volcano Survivors

by AmeriCares | AmeriCares
Friday, 17 January 2014 11:04 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

When El Salvador's most active volcano suddenly erupted on December 29, 2013, AmeriCares Family Clinic emergency team responded immediately with a donation of protective gear for cleanup and relief supplies for displaced families.

The eruption of the Chaparrastique Volcano affected families in San Miguel and surrounding areas. People living within a two-mile radius of the volcano were evacuated. The disaster hit home for the clinic staff: More than fifty percent of employees live in the most affected communities, forcing relocation of their families to safer areas.

Within one day of the eruption, our clinic team rushed a delivery of masks and goggles to the Department of Civil Protection in Santiago de Maria, to help cleanup crews remove ash from the streets, houses and public places. The same evening a delivery of bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, mattresses, apparel and personal care items were sent to the Ministry of Health for distribution to more than 100 displaced families at area shelters.

Ongoing efforts of our clinic's emergency response team include a series of educational activities for people living within range of the volcano. The sessions featured displays of action plans with instructions on how to deal with dangers of this natural phenomenon, as well as health fairs and educational talks. Additional masks were distributed to clinic staff and patients to protect against respiratory problems. Our 20 educational sessions led by clinic employees have helped 506 people.

The clinic's emergency team continues to monitor the situation and is standing ready to provide additional assistance, if needed.

Now in its tenth year of operation, AmeriCares Family Clinic in El Salvador has provided quality primary care for 70,000 patients in addition to distributing donated medicines to more than sixty smaller clinics and hospitals nearby.