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Thursday, 18 January, 2001, 11:44 GMT
Your experiences of the El Salvador quake

Aftershocks have spread further panic through El Salvador as rescuers spent a second night frantically digging for survivors of the earthquake which shook Central America on Saturday.

The number known to have been killed in the disaster has risen to more than 400, hundreds more remain buried and hopes are fading of finding any more survivors.

If you are in the region, do you have any information you would like to pass on? Email to tell us what is happening where you are.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Nicaraguans feel solidarity with their Salvadoran neighbours

Denise, Nicaragua
All day long, the Red Cross ambulance siren has been wailing full-blast as it moves through the streets of our small town in Northern Nicaragua, collecting donations for El Salvador. Julian in Mexico was right-on to state that the extreme poverty that people face every day is the terrible tragedy that never makes the news. The hope I see here is that despite their poverty, Nicaraguans feel solidarity with their Salvadoran neighbours, and are giving from the little they themselves were left with after Hurricane Mitch.
Denise, Nicaragua

I would just like to say that we all do take a lot for granted and tend to say that nothing like this could happen here. Unfortunately, it did and it is horrific to think of the damage that it has caused to the buildings, the families and especially the children who still are confused. It will take a long time for people to come to terms with what has happened. The thoughts that are in my mind and many others is that this could happen again at a split second. I'm lucky that I survived this time but next time I could be too close to do anything.
Melissa Smith, El Salvador

It is hard to get back to normal life here in El Salvador

Simon Eisenhut, El Salvador
It is hard to get back to normal life here in El Salvador. The number of deaths rises every day and aftershocks of considerable strength cause additional damage to buildings, landslides and landslide risks. The rhythm of the aftershocks is decreasing but the strength is not. Half an hour ago we just had another strong one. That is why people are still frightened too sleep inside their houses. Looking around for a friend's house in Santa Tecla SV, I saw a lot of destruction. Helpless people sitting on the street still trying to understand what happened and what it would mean for their future. Every message of solidarity and concern for the damaged and the undamaged people in El Salvador does take away a bit of pain of the hidden and a bit of sadness of the ones who didn't suffer physical damage.
Simon Eisenhut, El Salvador

I was unfortunate to be in the middle of the Los Angeles Northridge earthquake on January 17th 1994 at 4.31am (which is seven years ago tomorrow and a day that I shall never forget). I have never experienced fear like it and was lucky not to have been killed as my apartment collapsed around me. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered and I know what the survivors are going through. What most people do not realise, is the abject fear and torture experienced by continuous and constant nerve wrecking aftershocks, which are equally as scary. Your nerves just go and you wish you could be anywhere else in the world other than where you are, but unfortunately, there is just no way out! As always it is the children who suffer the most. So consider yourself very lucky not to be in El Salvador at the moment and spare a thought for all who are trapped there.
Michael Brennan, USA

My heart goes out to all the people that have been affected by this disaster in El Salvador

Oscar Sermeņo, Montreal, Canada
My heart goes out to all the people that have been affected by this disaster in El Salvador. Unlike the earthquake of 1986, this time around not a single area of the country was left untouched. My brother, who lives in Los Angeles, just asked me, "What are we going to do to rebuild the whole country?" and I told him, "We've done it before and this time around it won't be different". In a couple of days, the rest of the world might forget about this tragedy, but I can assure you, El Salvador will not forget your help. Please help El Salvador needs you.
Oscar Sermeņo, Montreal, Canada

My heart goes out to all affected. I really do understand what you're going through. It brings it all back to me. Glad to know all well at British School where I taught from Jan.'83-Dec.86, experiencing the last big earthquake. Please give my best to any who remember me and my love and thoughts especially to Bessy de Hercules.
Julie Hamer, England

For Sam:
Have no worries - the epicentre was on the Pacific Coast of Central America, and Bluefields, as you know, is on the Atlantic/Caribbean side. Today's paper said that fears of a tidal wave were unfounded due to the nature of the tectonic plates off Nicaragua's [Pacific] coast.
Denise van Wissen, Nicaragua

I am lost in uncertainty to find out anything I can about this tragedy

Isis Jimenez, Canada
Being a Canadian citizen but born in El Salvador (with family left behind). I am lost in uncertainty to find out anything I can about this tragedy. My family and I here can not fully express the importance of the information provided by your newscasts. Since we are not able to get through and communicate with our family back home and last spoke to them during the holidays. We admire the strength and commitment that your dedicated team has and thank - you for delivering this story to us.
Isis Jimenez, Canada

I've been living in Chiapas for about 7 years now and we are in a zone criss-crossed by faults, We experience tremors every day but most of them are undetectable. On Saturday I felt the tremor for about 30 seconds, my chair wobbling back and forth and the door swaying. We're about 400km from the epicentre so it wasn't too bad. Here in Chiapas, Mexico and other parts of Central America people suffer disasters all the time which are becoming more and more frequent and accentuated due to the severe environmental degradation/ destruction e.g deforestation.

Many people, especially indigenous peoples face tragedy day to day, malnutrition, extreme poverty, the list goes on. These are unseen "man-made disasters" which barely make the news. Most "natural disasters" are to an extent "man-made". If people didn't live in such precarious conditions trying to fight against poverty then disasters such as earthquakes and floods would take a lesser toll. This earthquake is a huge blow for the people of El Salvador. Please help in any way you can in England or in other parts of the world
Julian Flavell, Mexico

It was a humbling experience to be here

Greg Macklin, England
I stayed in San Salvador last night and felt at least five aftershocks. Through the country there is much devastation but the roads were clear and many people were trying to get on with their daily lives. Their reaction to the aftershocks was certainly a lot calmer than the reaction of myself and my fellow travellers. The nation is gripped by TV and newspapers and a feeling of "not again" and desperation fills the air. It is a tragedy for these people yet again. I have read many times about the floods in England and can only say thank God it is just water. We are a lucky nation not to be hit by such forces of nature that destroy whole communities and take hundreds of lives. It was a humbling experience to be here. Do what you can to help.
Greg Macklin, England

Anyone concerned about the British people working at the British School here in Santa Tecla can rest easily, we're all fine. Although all of us are unnerved by what has happened we have all been into work today to clean up the mess and find out what will happen this week. There's been some structural damage to our auditorium but most of the classroom are okay, just fallen ceiling tiles and fans. We can actually see the top of the landslide from the school.

All of us have donated money, food and clothing for those who have been displaced. So far we have had no reports of any students being injured, and only a couple of staff have lost friends in the disaster. We can only carry on as best we can and thank God that it didn't happen a day earlier, as all the students would have been at school and the auditorium would have been full.
Dave Allen, El Salvador

I have relatives in Nicaragua. Does anyone have any idea when the tidal wave will hit? I especially need to know news about a place on the coast called Bluefields. Please, if anyone has any information, could they contact me as soon as possible?
Sam Webster, England

Saturday morning, just before noon, I was out running errands on my bike, when I entered a store and the man said, "Didn't you feel the tremors? We all ran outside!" I hadn't felt a thing!
Here in Northern Nicaragua we were terribly affected by Mitch; each country of Central America takes its turn for the yearly disasters. I've lived in Nicaragua for almost 10 years now, and there's been a tidal wave, earthquake, Hurricane Mitch, volcanic eruptions, droughts, and flooding, not to mention the constant political upheavals. People here live from day to day. We feel very much for our Salvadoran neighbours, and mourn with them.
Denise (Cdn), Nicaragua

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See also:

15 Jan 01 | Americas
'Miracle' amid Salvador devastation

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