Ban Voices Concern at Impact of Floods in Meeting with El Salvador’s First Lady

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his deep concern at the number of
lives affected and damage caused by the recent floods in El Salvador as he met
with the country’s First Lady.

During their meeting at UN Headquarters, Vanda Pignato, who is also Secretary for Social Inclusion of El Salvador, briefed the Secretary-General on the loss of life and the devastating impact of the recent disaster, which placed in stark relief the effect of
climate change on Central American countries, according to information released
by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

Nearly 70 per cent of the country has been affected by the heavy rains that also
continue to cause severe flooding across Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and
Belize.

Mr. Ban expressed concern that 300,000 people had been directly affected by the
storms in El Salvador and more than 1 million others indirectly affected, that
the country’s agricultural crops and infrastructure had been seriously damaged,
and that reconstruction efforts would require $1.5 billion – equivalent to five
per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He commended the country’s disaster management efforts while expressing the hope
that the international community would respond strongly to its appeals for
emergency and reconstruction assistance.

The Government and the UN launched a $15.7 million flash appeal on Tuesday with
the aim of assisting 300,000 people in the next six months.

The appeal focuses on providing shelter, drinking water, food and health
services as well as actively monitoring the country’s two principal volcanoes,
given the concern about possible mudslides and seismic movements in populated
areas, including San Salvador, the capital.

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