UN launches urgent appeal for El Salvador

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The UN launched Tuesday an emergency appeal for $15.7 million (10.9 million euros) to come to the aid of 300,000 people in El Salvador who have been hit by flooding.

"The UN is asking for $15.7 million for El Salvador for the period between October this year and April 2012, to cover the needs of around 300,000 people affected by one way or other," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"At the moment, we have more than 56,000 people who were displaced," she added, noting that 69 percent of the country had been affected.

Besides El Salvador, other central American countries have also been blighted by the floods.

A team of five UN experts have been dispatched to Nicaragua, noted Byrs, adding that both Nicaragua and Honduras had sought international assistance.

"We are looking at a flash appeal also for Nicaragua as well as a contribution from the UN emergency funds," she added.

Throughout the region, some 1.2 million people have been affected, said the UN.

Byrs added that the region has been placed under "maximum alert," particularly due to Hurricane Rina which is sweeping across the Caribbeans Monday and threatening central America.

The UN is particularly worried about the health of the inhabitants.

"Water borne diseases are developing," said the OCHA spokeswoman.

© 2011 AFP

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