Red Cross leaders in Ecuador have issued an emergency appeal for more than $500,000 to help provide relief to those affected by last week's volcano eruption.

The Red Cross on Wednesday said the funds will be used to provide food and other aid for up to one-thousand families over the next four months.

The emergency appeal comes nearly a week after the Tungurahua volcano 130 kilometers south of Quito exploded, destroying nearby villages and displacing thousands of people. At least five people died.

The president of the Ecuadorian Red Cross, Juan Cueva, says the volcano's ashes are already causing health problems, including respiratory infections. The organization is also working to protect people from contaminated water.

Cueva says psychological support is also needed for victims experiencing trauma from the disaster.

Earlier, Ecuador's President Alfredo Palacio promised that Ecuador would "rise like a phoenix from the ashes."

Volcano experts have warned that the volcano is poised for another eruption.

Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. The five-thousand-meter tall volcano sent huge columns of ash into the air in 1999, forcing the evacuation of 17,000 area residents of the town of Banos, to the north.