Volcanic Eruption

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06/06/2023 | Article

Nevado del Ruiz volcano: Preparing for an eruption

On 30 March, the Colombian Geological Service increased the alert level of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in central Colombia from yellow to orange, signifying a probable eruption in a matter of days or weeks. While it is not possible to know exactly when or how a volcano will erupt, it is possible to monitor a volcano’s activity and take early action to minimize its potential impact on communities living nearby—which is exactly what IFRC network teams are doing right now. Nevado del Ruiz is an explosive volcano. Its eruptions involve the fracturing of rock and rapid expulsion of gases and fluids—called ‘pyroclastic flows’—at high speeds and temperatures. But there’s also one quite unique additional risk: as one of the highest volcanoes in the region, standing at 5000+ metres tall, it is covered snow and has a thick ice cap. The concern is that this ice cap melts, as it did during the 1985 eruption when avalanches of water, ice, rocks, and clay ran down the volcano's sides, erasing the nearby town of Armero and killing more than 25,000 people. To prepare for this risk, the Colombian Red Cross has activated its general plan of action. This plan defines the preparedness actions they need to take in response to different levels of volcanic activity, including if the alert level changes from orange to red—indicating that the volcano is in the process of erupting or is going to erupt any time. With anticipatory funding from the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF), Colombian Red Cross teams have been working hard to get their volunteers and communities ready for the worst-case scenario. They’ve been re-training volunteers in first aid, evacuation, and emergency coordination, and restocking essential emergency response items such as first aid kits, identification items for first responders, and emergency signal equipment. They’ve also been sharing as much information as possible within local communities around Nevado del Ruiz: warning at-risk families to evacuate; talking to them about how and where to evacuate safely; and handing out radios and batteries to people in hard-to-reach areas so they can stay informed. But some families are reluctant to leave and are dismissing evacuation advice from local authorities and the Colombian Red Cross. On the surface, this can be difficult to understand—why wouldn’t you want to move away from a volcano that’s potentially about to erupt? There’s no simple answer. For the many farmers who rely on the rich volcanic soils surrounding Nevado del Ruiz, they may not want to leave their properties or animals and abandon the livelihood upon which they rely. Other people simply cannot, or choose not to, believe something as horrific as the 1985 eruption could ever happen again. Right now, Colombian Red Cross, IFRC and partners are gathering in the region to step up preparedness efforts. This includes an increased focus on community engagement to understand people’s thoughts and fears and convince them to evacuate. They are also preparing for, and trying to reduce the risk of, mass displacement should the volcano erupt. Through the DREF operation, they are taking early actions such reinforcing critical infrastructure, providing people with cash assistance, and pre-positioning food and safe drinking water. We will share more about these vital efforts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click here to read more about the anticipatory action funding we have provided through the DREF. Further information: What are volcanic eruptions? How the Anticipatory Pillar of the DREF works Disaster preparedness Follow IFRC Americas @IFRC_es and the Colombian Red Cross @cruzrojacol on Twitter

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08/04/2022 | Press release

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Recovery efforts continue to be crucial one year after the La Soufrière eruption

Kingston, Jamaica, April 8, 2022 – On April 9, 2021, the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in the Caribbean, caused more than 13,000 people who live in the nearby red and orange zones to be evacuated. One year later, the impact of the disaster is still evident, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is focusing its efforts on shelter and socio-economic recovery, as the income of families has been affected by the eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, the Red Cross has supported over 5,000 people with water, emergency relief supplies, hygiene and cleaning items, dignified housing solutions, risk communication and community engagement, as well as psychosocial and livelihood support. Bernard Morgan, President of the SVG Red Cross, said: “The Red Cross, along with our partners, has provided relief, psychosocial support, and access to basic services, however the work is still not done. We continue to focus our efforts on helping people recover, especially those who have lost their jobs or savings, and whose homes were severely damaged. The physical effects of the volcano may not be as visible now, but people are still dealing with the social, economic, and psychological effects of the eruption, especially the estimated 900 people who are still unable to move back to their homes.” The Red Cross provided multipurpose grants to support approximately 1000 persons as well as supermarket vouchers for over 800 persons. In addition, over 300 small enterprises have received grants to restart farming, fishing and businesses that were interrupted by the eruption. The Red Cross has supported over 210 highly vulnerable persons (74 families) to leave collective centres and to move into dignified shelter conditions through the provision of rental grants for a period of between 1-6 months depending on needs, with over 400 monthly grants distributed since September 2021. James Bellamy, IFRC Deputy Operations Manager in the Americas, said: “One year later, some people still don’t have their homes or usual means of income, as more than 100 homes continue to remain uninhabitable due to damage and increased risks from the eruption. The priority now for the Red Cross is to help communities strengthen and restore their livelihoods and living conditions. We will continue to assist families through our livelihood program, offer training opportunities and work with disadvantaged households to find long-term shelter solutions through both cash and in-kind assistance.” Children have been at the core of the humanitarian response, with over 500 receiving psychosocial support kits including learning and recreational items. The IFRC collaborated with partners, like UNICEF and the Gender Affairs unit, to ensure child friendly spaces in collective centres. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and dengue outbreak, preventing the spread of the virus and dengue infections was a major part of the response. The Red Cross provided information about staying safe and healthy, and supplied family Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, as well as 400 hand sanitizer wall mounted units to the Ministry of Education for schools reopening for face-to-face learning. The Red Cross also supported cleanup efforts following the eruption and distributed household cleaning kits to over 3,300 families and hygiene kits and COVID-19 kits to over 2,300 families. In April 2021, the IFRC launched an appeal for 2,000,000 CHF to assist over 5,000 people in affected communities with shelter, health, clean water and livelihood support. For more information: In St. Vincent: Attica Allen +1 (784) 454-1989, [email protected] In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva, +876 818 8575, [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, +507 6999-3199, [email protected]

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14/04/2022 | Press release

Tonga: Red Cross tackles triple disaster - COVID-19, volcanic fallout, tsunami

Kuala Lumpur/Suva 15 April 2022 – Three months on from the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami, the Pacific island nation of Tonga is battling another disaster: its first serious outbreak of Covid-19 that has forced the Government to extend a State of Emergency and impose a series of lockdowns. The strict Covid measures have severely impacted the work of government and relief agencies and their ability to distribute relief. Tonga Red Cross has been forced to pare back operations for several weeks, relying on skeleton staff and a core group of volunteers to do essential “contactless” distributions. First detected in February, the virus reached the outer islands last month, jumping quarantine lines designed to contain it to the main island of Tongatapu. As a result, the lockdown was extended to the Ha’apai group – another blow to hard-hit island communities whose homes and livelihoods were ruined by the eruption and tsunami. After a three-week delay, a group of 25 Tonga Red Cross staff and volunteers was finally given permission by the Ministry of Health to travel by boat to islands in the Ha’apais to deliver food items, bottled water, family kits and washing kits. Observing strict “contactless” protocols, the relief teams left supplies on beaches for collection after departure. Sione Taumoefolau, Secretary-General of Tonga Red Cross said: “The people of Tonga are tough, but they have faced a once-in-a-lifetime triple disaster, making life very difficult and the relief and recovery operations even harder. “Following the devastation caused by the volcanic eruptions, being smothered by blankets of toxic ash and hit by a huge tsunami, and then Covid-19, it’s critical to balance the safety of our staff, the health of our communities, and the urgent need to deliver relief supplies. “Red Cross volunteers on the islands are a crucial lifeline in this operation, keeping us informed of the humanitarian needs on the ground and allowing us to shuttle in much-needed supplies. “More rain and bad weather during the cyclone season has also impacted our response to those affected.” The January disaster, combined with lockdown measures restricting business activity, has severely impacted Tonga’s economy. The World Bank puts the bill for overall damage at $US90.4 million – equivalent to 18.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Katie Greenwood, Pacific Head of Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “Disasters of this scale can overwhelm the resources of any nation. It has required a well-coordinated regional response, with Pacific neighbours, the international community and a generous Tongan diaspora, to support vital local relief efforts. “This effort will extend well beyond the coming weeks and months, helping tsunami-devastated communities rebuild with safer homes and water supplies to be better prepared for future climate disasters.” For more information, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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25/01/2022 | Press release

Tonga: Aid ramped up after eruption and tsunami

Kuala Lumpur/Suva, 26 January 2022 – Local relief teams are urgently providing supplies to communities across Tonga, hit hard by a volcanic eruption and tsunami that destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands without safe drinking water. Relief items are being unloaded after the airport was cleared of ash, making it safe for planes to land. Tonga Red Cross staff and volunteers have been assisting people from the moment the tsunami alert was triggered, and are ramping up the delivery of drinking water, temporary shelters and other critical relief supplies across the country’s many islands. Sione Taumoefolau, Secretary General of Tonga Red Cross, said: “This disaster has shaken the people of Tonga like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. The tsunami has wiped out homes and villages, but we are already rebuilding amid the ashes. “After being cut off from the world, we are very grateful for the relief supplies being delivered to our shores. Our Red Cross teams are using boat and trucks to take these vital items that last mile to communities in need of shelter, water and other basic necessities. “There is an urgent need for people to have access to safe water sources in the days and weeks to come. Ash has settled in water tanks- requiring time to settle and careful treatment before use. It has also smothered much of the country, including houses and crops. “It is critical to clean this ash away, so it doesn’t run into water supplies when the next rain comes. “Shelter is a top priority for families whose homes have been completely wiped out because of the tsunami. People have lost everything. We need to provide immediate support – then turn our attention to the longer term. It will be a tough time, but we will recover.” To support the relief efforts of our locally led response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal of 2.5 million Swiss Francs to provide urgent assistance including safe water, tarpaulins, shelter materials including tool kits to rebuild, household items such as kitchen cooking sets and hygiene kits. Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said: “While the damage to some of the islands is truly devastating, it is heartening to see Red Cross and governments from around the world providing assistance to the hard-hit people of Tonga, enabling much-needed services and relief items. “A well-coordinated humanitarian response that brings together governments and international organisations to support local agencies like Tonga Red Cross is crucial in the Pacific. These partnerships are critical for effective delivery of immediate relief and longer-term support.” For more information, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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24/01/2022 | Emergency

Tonga: Volcano and tsunami

On 15 January, a violent eruption occurred at the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’api volcano in Tonga. The volcanocaused a Pacific-wide tsunami, swamping coastlines as far away as Peru, and released a cloud of ash billowing more than 20km high. Many houses in Tonga were completely or partially destroyed, and ashfall and saltwater intrusion threaten people's health, agriculture and the local ecosystem. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting the Tonga Red Cross Society to meet the immediate, early and long-term needs of the most vulnerable people affected.

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19/01/2022 | Press release

Red Cross in Tonga confirms urgent need for safe drinking water

Kuala Lumpur/Suva, 19 January 2022 – Red Cross is rushing safe drinking water to people across Tonga as water supplies have been disrupted by layers of volcanic ash and salt water that were dumped on the Pacific island nation following last weekend’s eruption and tsunami. Red Cross teams on the ground have confirmed widespread stagnant pools of salt water that were dumped by the tsunami and communities are covered with a thick layer of volcanic ash, polluting the clean drinking water sources of tens of thousands of people. Katie Greenwood, the Pacific Head of Delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “After being cut off from the world, we have successfully contacted Tonga Red Cross for the first time, who report that all their staff and volunteers are safe and working hard, providing relief, including shelter and drinking water. “Tonga Red Cross confirms emergency team members have been sent alongside authorities to islands including Mango, Fonoifua and Namuka Islands, where homes have been completely wiped out. “Red Cross teams are urgently delivering drinking water and relief kits for people who have lost everything. It is heartbreaking and devastating for these remote island communities. “Securing access to safe drinking water is a critical immediate priority as we work with our partners and the Australian and New Zealand governments to get relief supplies such as mobile water treatment facilities into Tonga. “Water supplies across Tonga have been severely impacted by ashfall and saltwater from the tsunami. It’s vital to restore access to safe drinking water as there is a mounting risk of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.” Tonga Red Cross emergency teams are providing people with clean water, tarpaulins, shelter tool kits, kitchen sets and other essential relief. IFRC has mobilised its regional network and partnerships with governments to send relief supplies by sea in the coming days and as part of airlifts once Tonga’s ash-covered international airport is open. “Fortunately, Tonga Red Cross has pre-positioned relief supplies to support 1,200 families in exactly this kind of disaster. Essential items such as tarpaulins, shelter tool kits, blankets, kitchen sets, and hygiene kits are all proving vital for people who have lost everything. “It is critical to replenish the relief supplies in the coming days as items are being distributed to hard-hit communities across the islands and threats remain from the volcano and cyclones. “These relief efforts require a coordinated approach, combining the efforts of our Tonga Red Cross colleagues on the ground, Red Cross Red Crescent and humanitarian partners, and the heavy lifting capacity of the Australian and New Zealand Governments.” Update: On 21 January 2022 the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for the Tonga volcano and tsunami. Find out more here. For more information, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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16/01/2022 | Press release

Tonga: Volcanic eruption and tsunami cuts off country from the world

Kuala Lumpur/Suva, 16 January 2022 - The small Pacific Island country of Tonga has been cut off from the rest of the world after an enormous volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami hit the country on Saturday. All communication lines in the country have been disrupted with no timeframe given on restoration. Responding to one of the worst volcanic eruptions the Pacific has experienced in decades, Red Cross is mobilising its regional network to provide relief. Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said: “From what little updates we have, the scale of the devastation could be immense- especially for outer lying Islands. We are trying hard to establish contact with our colleagues at Tonga Red Cross and establish the scale and specific nature of the support they need. “Trained Tonga Red Cross teams will be on the ground supporting evacuations in coordination with public authorities, providing first aid if needed, and distributing prepositioned relief supplies. “Red Cross currently has enough relief supplies in the country to support 1200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits.” There are fears that communities may not have access to safe and clean drinking water as a result of saltwater inundation caused by the tsunami waves and ashfall from the volcanic eruption. Shelter is also a concern, particularly for those communities near the coast line. “Local Red Cross teams are well placed to respond quickly to emergencies like this. We are determined to provide the extra resources and support they may need in the face of such a devastating disaster. “With communication channels disrupted one of the priorities for Tonga Red Cross will be to work with our Movement partner, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to restore family links which will help people from all over the world try and find out if their family and friends in Tonga are safe and well.” Update: On 21 January 2022 the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for the Tonga volcano and tsunami. Find out more here. For more information, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Joe Cropp, +61 491 743 089, [email protected] Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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06/12/2021 | Press release

Indonesia: Rescue and relief critical after Mount Semeru eruptions

Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta, 6 December 2021 – Rescuing survivors, providing medical care and helping people whose homes have been buried by ash and debris are critical priorities after Mount Semeru volcano eruptions in East Java, Indonesia. Indonesian Red Cross volunteers and emergency teams have been providing medical care and relief, including tarpaulins for shelter and drinking water supplies. Sudirman Said, Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General said: “It is vital that we continue to search quickly for more survivors from this tragic volcano eruption and provide survivors with medical care and relief as many have lost their homes, buried in the ash and mudflows. “We are rushing more rescue vehicles, medical teams, water trucks and relief to the area, including food and shelter supplies to help in the coming days and weeks.” More than 100 volunteers are helping hundreds of families displaced by the Mount Semeru volcano eruption, with tarpaulins for shelters, clean water supplies, blankets, ready to eat meals and hygiene kits. The Indonesian Red Cross has despatched 20 ambulances and emergency teams have set up field kitchens to provide food for people displaced from their homes. More than 65,000 surgical masks have been sent to help reduce the dangers of ash and dust, while also keeping people safe from COVID-19. Two water trucks have been sent to provide drinking water. While providing emergency support, the Indonesian Red Cross teams are also conducting assessments of the needs for longer terms recovery operations. Jan Gelfand, Head of Indonesia Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said: “These eruptions are devastating for hundreds of families who have lost loved ones or homes. Many have been injured and it’s critical that first aid and medical care is provided to survivors. “Indonesian Red Cross is urgently sending more teams to the area to provide relief including tarpaulins for shelter, food and drinking water for people who have lost everything in homes buried under piles of ash, mud and debris.” For further information or to organise an interview: In Jakarta: Hamzah Ramadhan, +62 811 1161 193,[email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451,[email protected]

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09/10/2021 | Press release

La Soufrière Volcano: Six months later, humanitarian support still needed as some unable to return home

Kingston, Jamaica, October 9, 2021 – Hundreds of people affected by the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines six months ago are still unable to return home despite being given the all-clear to do so. Since the initial eruption on April 9, Red Cross teams have been supporting more than 4,000 people with water, emergency relief supplies, as well as hygiene and cleaning items and are now assisting families with recovery. “The Red Cross has taken a holistic approach to the response. In the initial stages, we provided the basic relief items such as food, water and hygiene kits and now we are going into the livelihood recovery and housing support phase,” said Bernard Morgan, President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross (SVGRC), adding that psychosocial support, especially for children impacted by the disaster, is also a critical component of the response. The Red Cross provided over 400 children with psychosocial support kits including learning and recreational items and collaborated with partners, like UNICEF, to ensure child friendly spaces in shelters. At least 1500 people (500 families) still require shelter support due to the level of damage sustained to their homes. The Red Cross is working closely with the Ministry of National Mobilisation as well as the Ministry of Education to help these families move into transitional rental accommodation, so the communal shelters (mainly schools) can be closed and handed over back to the Education ministry for the reopening of schools. “Through the IFRC’s emergency appeal, we have issued cash vouchers to families who are returning home so they can purchase well-needed items and for those who are unable to return home just yet, we are providing them with financing to rent temporary housing for a few months, until their houses are repaired and habitable,” said James Bellamy, Deputy Operations Manager with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Americas. This emergency is another example of overlapping crises, as the eruption affects a country already impacted by an ongoing dengue outbreak and the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, that has hit the tourism industry, one of the main economic activities of the island. The IFRC is concerned that the long-term effects of the eruption and the pandemic, combined with the possible development of more storm systems during the remainder of the hurricane season, could lead to an even more complex humanitarian crisis. Media contacts: In St. Vincent: Nolisha Miller +1 (784) 493-4078 [email protected] In Kingston, Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva, [email protected] + 1 876 818 8575 In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes, [email protected] + 506 8416 1771

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24/08/2021 | Emergency type

Volcanic eruptions

A volcano is an opening in the earth’s surface that allowsmagma (hot liquid and semi-liquid rock), volcanic ash and gases to escape. They are generally found where tectonic plates come together or separate, but they can also occur in the middle of plates due to volcanic hotspots. A volcanic eruption is when gas and/or lava are released from a volcano—sometimes explosively. Volcanoes provide a number of environmental benefits, for example: fertile soils, hydrothermal energy, and precious minerals. But they also pose several hazards: volcanic ash, gases, lahars (mud flows), landslides, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows (fast-moving currents of hot gas). Volcanic eruptions can be deadly and often cause population displacement and food shortages.

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03/06/2021 | Press release

DRC volcano eruption: Red Cross steps up its response amid fears of a “multi-hazard” emergency

Kinshasa/Nairobi/Geneva, 03 June 2021—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned that a multi-hazard emergency looms large following the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal of 11.6 million Swiss francs to assist 80,000 displaced people in DRC and Rwanda and is calling for urgent support from donors and partners to help scale up operations. Mohammed Omer Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa, said: “The danger is not over, and more work lies ahead. While volcanic activity seems to have subsided, the recent eruption has left a trail of immense humanitarian needs. Hundreds have lost their homes and they urgently need shelter, food, clean water and healthcare. Families have also been separated amid the chaos that followed the eruption.” Based on the requests for family reunification received by the Red Cross, at least 540 children were separated from their families after the eruption. Out of those 540 requests, Red Cross teams have reunited 64 missing children with their families. Many more are still missing. Over 1,722 houses and other structures have been destroyed, leaving about 30,000 people homeless and displaced. Some were displaced internally within DRC—others moved to Rwanda, in Rubavu. Karamaga Apollinaire, the Secretary General of the Rwanda Red Cross said: “In the town of Rubavu, to which many Congolese refugees fled, we have had to manage the influx and the destruction of property caused by the continuous earthquakes. Schools, homes, markets and water lines have been destroyed, and residents are being evacuated to safer grounds. Rwanda Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since the eruption, providing humanitarian assistance to both the refugees and local communities.” The eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo comes at the worst possible time in DRC. With thousands of displaced people, amid an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, in one of the most dangerous environments in the world—the Red Cross is worried about the “multiplier effect” that this new emergency adds to an already complex situation. “The population of North Kivu has been grappling with socio-economic challenges for decades and is currently one of the most food insecure locations in Africa. With every disaster, their means of coping are weakened further,” said Mukhier. As a response, the Red Cross will support communities affected by multiple hazards and compounding humanitarian vulnerabilities caused by the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo for a period of 12 months. Through the operation, Red Cross teams will provide services such as shelter; distribution of household items; water, sanitation and hygiene; healthcare; protection and psychosocial support, among others. Grégoire Mateso Mbuta Way, President of the DRC Red Cross, said: “Although this is a worrying humanitarian situation, we are reassured by the fact that our Red Cross teams are experienced in responding to emergencies caused by volcanic activity. Our teams played a key role in supporting people affected by the last major eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo in 2002. The IFRC and the Red Cross in DRC understand the local context very well and have worked together for years in eastern DRC, including during the recent response to Ebola.” Immediately after the eruption of Mountain Nyiragongo, the IFRC released 359,213 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help the DRC Red Cross to provide assistance to 12,500 people from local communities evacuated from areas close to the volcano. The Red Cross is urgently calling for support to the emergency appeal to help reach more people with life-saving assistance.

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19/04/2021 | Press release

La Soufrière volcanic eruptions: IFRC warns of immediate and long-term humanitarian needs

Kingston/Geneva,19April 2021-Near20,000people have been directly affected by La Soufrière volcanic eruptions in St. Vincent and The Grenadines(SVG). As La Soufrière volcano remains highly active, these numbers may increase in the coming weeks and months.So far, almost 1,500 familiesin SVGhave been displaced and more than8,000 people have been evacuated and are staying at publicand privateshelters.Almostall ofthe 110,600 residents of the island have been indirectly affected by ashfall, water restrictions and the destruction of their livelihoods.An unquantified number of people have also been affected in neighboring islands. SVG Red Cross volunteers have been supporting the evacuation efforts, providing first aid, promoting COVID-19 prevention, and distributing water, blankets, hygiene kits and basic needs items to the sheltered families.Immediate needs include access to water, food, health care, and hygiene, as well as cleaning and COVID-19 prevention items. In response to this crisis,the International Federation of Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties(IFRC)has launched anemergencyappealthatseeks a total of 2 million Swiss francs(CHF)to support theRed Cross Societies in SVG, Barbados, St.Lucia and Grenada to deliver assistance and support for 18 months to 5,400 people.The Red Cross actionswill be focusedonthedistribution ofmajorhouseholditems,andprovidinghealth care, psychosocial support,essentialhouseholditemsandaccess towater, sanitationandhygiene.Protecting people's livelihoods will also be a priority. "We are here for the long run, we were here for the COVID-19 and dengue outbreaks, and we will be here when people go back to their homes. Upon returning, thousands of them willneed support in reactivating their family economy and generating new income,”saidAriel Kestens, IFRC’sHead of Delegation for the Dutch- and English-speaking Caribbean.“Using cash and vouchers is key not only to strengthen their resilience and recovery from these overlapping emergencies but also the local economy.” Sincetheinitial explosive eruption on9April, La Soufrière has erupted several times.TheCaribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency has reported thatexplosions of similar or largermagnitude arelikely to continue to occur over the next few days, resulting in ashfall affecting not just St. Vincent and the Grenadines,butalsoBarbados,St. Lucia, Grenada,and Antigua and Barbuda.The IFRCwarnsthat if the eruptions continue into thecominghurricane season,thiscouldlead to an even more complex humanitarian crisis.

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11/04/2021 | Press release

People affected by La Soufrière’s eruption are in urgent need of hygiene items, water, and COVID-19 protection kits

Kingston / Panama City, 11 April 2021 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working alongside the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross (SVGRC) to provide humanitarian aid to the population affected by the eruption of La Soufrière volcano. Within 48 hours after the volcanic eruption, people’s most immediate needs include maternal and childcare for those staying in the high-risk areas; shelter, hygiene items, water, and items for COVID-19 prevention for those who have been evacuated. The SVGRC is assisting the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) with evacuation sites and transport points, working to ensure even the most reluctant are evacuated for their safety. Needs assessment teams have been deployed to 100 shelters and in over ten communities, Red Cross volunteers have responded to assist those impacted. “In addition to assisting with evacuation and shelter management, we are also doing contact tracing to ensure that family members who are displaced, are reconnected with their families. We are encouraging persons who aren’t in government shelters to register with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross,” said Harvey Farrell, SVGRC Vice President. At evacuation centres, the Red Cross is also distributing hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses and water; and will continue to deliver messages about how to stay safe and healthy from COVID-19, and to avoid contracting dengue. Since early 2020, a dengue outbreak is hitting all health districts of the island. IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will allow the Red Cross network to ensure 700 sheltered families are receiving immediate support, including jerrycans, cleaning kits, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, COVID-19 prevention kits and first aid. Safe spaces for children in shelters will also be enabled in coordination with other organizations. Upon returning to their homes, persons would need support in recovering their livelihoods. The Red Cross will conduct an assessment to adequately determine those in need of this kind of assistance. “This is a very difficult time to be relocating so many people as the island continues to battle COVID-19 and dengue. Red Cross volunteers and staff, many of whom are from the same affected communities and left their homes behind as well, are working tirelessly in these early days of the eruption,” said Ariel Kestens, IFRC Head of Delegation for the Dutch- and English speaking Caribbean. Effective preparedness and early action in disaster saves lives and livelihoods. Since before the eruption, SVGRC has worked with communities to ensure they are ready to evacuate and had emergency go-bags packed with key documents and necessary supplies.

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02/10/2020 | Article

Ecuador: help that arrives in time

By Melissa Monzon “Thanks to the help of the Red Cross we will be able to protect our health, now not only from COVID, but also from volcanic ashfall. We hadn´t received help; we will use the tools to cultivate and for construction. This help is great, these tools will help us a lot”, says Agustin Chicaiza, a resident from the Laime Capulispungo community in Chimborazo, Ecuador. Like Agustin, many families in the community have been affected with the volcanic ash fall from the Sangay, whose activity increased since early hours of September 20 of this year. Therefore, the Ecuadorian Red Cross activated the Early Action Protocol (EAP), which allow them to immediately assist families in the most affected rural communities in the following days. “The Forecast-based Financing mechanism has allowed us to activate our first Early Action Protocol for volcanic ashfall. Thanks to the support of the International Federation of the Red Cross, the German Red Cross and the Climate Center, from Ecuadorian Red Cross we have provided humanitarian assistance to a thousand families from the communities of Totorillas, Laime, and Cebadas that have been affected by volcanic ashfall from the Sangay volcano”, complements Maria Fernanda Ayala, specialist in Geographic Information Systems of the National Program of Risk Management of the Ecuadorian Red Cross. The EAP aims to establish adequate early action, using ash dispersal and deposition forecasts, which benefit the most vulnerable families in the most affected areas. On this occasion, after the increase in Sangay activity, the Ecuadorian Red Cross carried out an analysis where it crossed variables such as response capacity, vulnerability, exposure and ash dispersion and ashfall forecasts from the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School (IGEPN), and decided to activate the EAP on the same day, September 20, at night. This shows how the forecasts allow the Red Cross to respond in advance. Also, the EAP allowed an economic distribution to be distributed, through the Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) program, where families receive an IFRC card with an amount that will help them cover their basic needs and protect their livelihoods. “Through the CVA program, people have the freedom to buy their materials, they really cover the needs they have due to the damage caused by volcanic ash and they can take early actions. They are given a debit card, and this money is intended as a complementary help. They were told how to withdraw the money from the ATM and where to redirect it (protection of livestock, crops and protection of their health)”, says Luis Alberto Rocano, Zone 3 Coordinator of the Ecuadorian Red Cross. Through Early Action Protocols, the Red Cross can access funds immediately so that they are prepared and pre-positioned for these types of events. In the case of this EAP, health kits and livelihood protection (tarps and tools) kits were distributed to 142 families from the Laime Capulispungo community and 317 families from the Laime San Carlos community, and debit cards were delivered to 378 families in the communities of Laime Capulispungo and Totorillas, in Chimborazo. “The Red Cross has had a caring heart, is a great help for this disaster that we are experiencing, this help will be of great use to us”, says Armando Daiquelema, resident of the Totorillas community.

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22/09/2020 | Press release

Ecuadorian Red Cross: a rapid response to the ashfall

September 22, 2020.- Since the activity of Sangay volcano have being increasing from early hours of September 20, the Ecuadorian Red Cross has activated the Early Action Protocol (EAP) with emergency funds from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which will allow it to immediately assist 1,000 families in rural communities that are being most affected. “The first actions have been for our volunteers in Chimborazo, Bolívar and Guayas to participate in the local Emergency Operations Committees. 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, "says Roger Zambrano, National Coordinator of Risk Management and Emergency and Disaster Response of the Ecuadorian Red Cross. Due to the ash deposit threshold, the Ecuadorian Red Cross will deliver a thousand family health kits, which consist of N95 masks and eye protection glasses for adults and children, and one thousand animal protection kits, consisting of plastic tarps and tools so that communities can protect their animals and / or their crops. Also, the Cash Transfer Program 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 and pre-positioned 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 dispersion and deposition forecasts, which allow actions to be taken to protect the most vulnerable families and their livelihoods in the areas most potentially affected by volcanic ash. With this type of intervention, the aim is to better understand the behavior of 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," adds Ines Brill, head of the IFRC Delegation for Andean Countries. "Early action and effective preparedness can save people and their livelihoods."

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14/01/2020 | Press release

Media advisory: Philippines volcano - Red Cross prepares for the worst

Manila/Kuala Lumpur 14 January 2020 – Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated after Taal volcano in Batangas, the Philippines, began spewing ash on 12 January and lava in the early hours of 13 January.The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology raised the volcano’s alert level to four out of a maximum of five, prompting precautionary evacuations of people living in a danger zone. Almost 25,000 people are now in more than 120 evacuation centres. More than 450,000 people live within the 14-kilometre danger zone and could be displaced by a hazardous eruption, which is possible within hours or days.Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:“I’m not trying to scare everybody, but we are preparing for the worst. The possibility of an explosive eruption is high. The challenge right now is taking care of many evacuees. Even more people need to be evacuated. “We urge people living in the danger zone to evacuate and follow evacuation orders issued by the authorities. Bring your animals and livestock to evacuation centres if you must. The Philippine Red Cross is working round the clock to assess and meet the needs of affected communities.”The Philippine Red Cross has been providing services and emergency items to people in evacuation centres through deploying ambulances, giving out dust masks, providing hot meals, water, sanitation and hygiene, and offering psychosocial support and child-friendly spaces.Acting Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Office, Patrick Elliott said:“This is an uneasy time for thousands of people living near Taal volcano. Almost 25,000 people have managed to evacuate very quickly but more are at risk if the activity escalates into a major eruption.”About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube 

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07/06/2018 | Press release

Guatemala volcano disaster: “We should not underestimate the scale of this disaster”

Guatemala City/Geneva, 7 June 2018 – At the end of his visit to the volcano Fuego disaster zone, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, said:“We should not underestimate the scale of this disaster. Critical, emergency needs are still enormous, and affected communities will need sustained and long-term support. “For the families worst affected, we believe the recovery process will take at least a year. These people lost everything – homes, livelihoods and tragically, loved ones. “These families are our priority, but the eruptions have had a much larger impact. Fine ash has fallen across more than half of the country, covering areas were agriculture is a key activity. The economic impact of this is unclear. We hope it will not mean a secondary disaster“I was deeply impressed by the massive and courageous response of the Guatemala Red Cross. Our volunteers have been responding since Sunday. They are exhausted, but their resolve is unwavering. “IFRC stands behind the Guatemala Red Cross, and I call all our Red Cross Red Crescent global network and our partners around the world to support them.“###ENDSBackgroundAt least 75 people have been killed following Sunday’s eruption of the Fuego volcano. An estimated 12,000 have been evacuated, with 1.7 million people affected in some way.Guatemala Red Cross has mobilized a massive response. Emergency teams have provided medical and psychosocial support to survivors, and ambulances from three Red Cross branches ferried wounded to hospitals in Guatemala City.Yesterday (6 June), IFRC released 250,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to boost the disaster response operation. The allocation will help the Guatemala Red Cross support 3,000 of the most vulnerable survivors for three months. The services will include medical and health support, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, food and relief items, Restoring Family Links and psychosocial support. Evaluations are ongoing to assess the growing needs, and the response will be adjusted accordingly.

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