Skip to main content

ECLAC Begins Assessment of Natural Disasters in El Salvador and Guatemala

Available in EnglishEspañol
14 June 2010|Press Release

The Commission will assess the impact of tropical storm Agatha and the eruption of the Pacaya volcano using its own methodology.

(14 June 2010) The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), under the mandate of the Governments of El Salvador and Guatemala and in conjunction with other United Nations agencies, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), today begins an assessment of the damages and losses caused by the eruption of the Pacaya volcano and the tropical storm Agatha in the two countries. The assessment will continue through 5 July.

The assessment will determine the social, economic and environmental impact of these natural disasters, which also affected Honduras and Nicaragua.

To date, Agatha has left 200 people dead, 175,529 evacuated and 107,641 in temporary shelters in these countries.

The upward trend in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in Central America is evident, with countries having to face tropical storms, heavy rains or prolonged droughts that are endangering their food security and affecting their economies.

Nearly 240 natural disasters have hit Central America between 1979 and 2009, directly affecting almost 27 million people and with a total cost of US$26.9 billion.

The high vulnerability of human settlements to climatic phenomena is aggravated by the permanent volcanic activity in the subregion, provoking complex and extensive disasters, as occurred recently in El Salvador and Guatemala.

The inter-institutional cooperation for this assessment is supported by the methodology ECLAC has been applying systematically for over 38 years, and which was used earlier this year in Haiti and Chile to assess the impact of the earthquakes in those countries.

ECLAC will assist the Plurination State of Bolivia during July, upon request of the government of that country and with the support of the World Bank, to assess the impact of El Niño, the warming of surface waters which has been altering the atmosphere of the Andean region since last year.


For enquiries, please contact ECLAC's Public Information and Web Services Section. Email:; telephone: (56-2) 210-2040/2149.