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Press Release 01/09

FAO CALLS FOR US$ 2.43 MILLION FOR POOR FARMERS IN QUAKE-HIT EL SALVADOR


Rome, 23 February - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has appealed for international aid to help farmers and their families in El Salvador after two major earthquakes. The quakes killed over 1,000 people, a million more were severely affected.

Some 200,000 houses were either damaged or completely destroyed, and the overall damage to infrastructure is estimated at US$ one billion, FAO said. Many farmers lost their houses and their jobs and are without money to restart their agricultural activities.

The UN agency urged the donor community to provide US$ 2.43 million for four emergency agricultural projects. The six-month initial emergency programme aims to help 20,000 poor farmers to restart planting in April/May. FAO will provide them with 800 tonnes of seeds (maize, beans and vegetables), fertilizers and tools.

"Helping farmers to restart agricultural production will help them to alleviate the financial burden they are facing rebuilding their houses", said Anne Bauer, Chief of the Special Relief Operations Service. "The rehabilitation of agriculture is important to avoid a situation where people give up farming and migrate to the cities or foreign countries."

To prevent major crop losses, FAO also plans to repair damaged irrigation systems and farm infrastructure. Soil and groundwater problems and the post earthquake risks of landslides will also be assessed.

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For more information please contact Erwin Northoff, Media Officer, 0039-096-5705 3105, e-mail: Erwin.Northoff@fao.org.


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