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MSF Broadens Operations in El Salvador Following Second Quake
February 14, 2001
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has broadened its operations in El Salvador to help victims of the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that hit the country February 13. MSF has sent three teams to San Vicente City, Zacatecoluca and Cojutepeque to assess the damage and provide initial relief supplies.
The latest earthquake, coming only one month after another 7.4-magnitude quake struck the nation, has brought widespread destruction, according to Jean Schmitz, MSF’s head of mission in El Salvador. “Roads and infrastructure are very damaged [and] we have seen many villages completely destroyed,” said Schmitz.
Many helicopters from the Salvadoran army are transferring the wounded from the countryside to San Salvador hospitals and a few serious cases have been transported by MSF.
Approximately one third of San Vicente City has been destroyed and nearly 80,000 people in the region have been affected. MSF has provided medical supplies to the local hospital and installed dispensary tents for emergencies. Lack of power has made it difficult to assess conditions in the region but the team plans to distribute blankets and install water and santitation facilities in rural areas as well as in urban camps housing displaced persons. The number of persons displaced by this latest quake remains unclear but MSF expects the figure to rise.
In Zacatecoluca, where all the patients have been evacuated from the local hospital, MSF has donated medical tents and supplies. In Cojutepeque, MSF provided the hospital with tents and blankets, as well as a surgical kit and surgical instruments to help with local relief efforts. MSF will continue to assess the need for shelter, medical supplies and staff, and water in the area.
MSF has contacted all its Central American missions and asked for material and human resource support. Additional aid workers and relief supplies are arriving from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
Teams that began working in El Salvador after the January 13 quake will continue their work in Armenia, El Cafetalon, Polideportivo, Comasagua and Juayua.