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The BBC's Stephen Gibbs
"Specialist expertise and equipment can be vital"
 real 28k

Monday, 15 January, 2001, 15:38 GMT
International aid for quake victims

Rescuers continue to search for survivors
Rich and poor nations alike are stepping forward to pour aid and funds into El Salvador following Saturday's devastating earthquake.

Nearby Guatemala, which itself suffered damage, has sent medical aid and electrical supplies.

Britain has pledged 100,000 ($150,000) for El Salvador and $50,000 for other areas.

The US has sent an emergency relief team, body-sniffing dogs, 25,000 lbs (11,250 kg) of blankets, medical kits, drinking water and plastic tarps for makeshift shelters.

The emergency team sent by the US is from the Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue Team, a 250-member group working with the US Agency for International Development.

Germany has sent 15 disaster relief experts, search dogs and a portable water purification plant for the much needed supply of clean water in the devastated areas.

Japan has pledged to send a team of experts as well as $650,000 while South Korea has sent $50,000 and relief goods of equal value.

Collection centres

Further developments have seen Panama establishing collection centres or bank accounts for private donations towards the earthquake relief efforts.

Lack of shelter and of access to clean water can become major killers, especially when it comes to children

Unicef UK director David Bull
Switzerland is to send an initial contribution of $100,000 emergency aid as part of a package which will also include food, drinking water and medicine.

Spain is sending a search and rescue team of 75 specially trained firefighters and 24 dogs to help in the search for survivors buried by landslides or trapped in the wreckage of collapsed buildings.

Aid agencies

The Spanish Red Cross said it would also contribute 5m pesetas ($28,470) of financial assistance to help survivors and rebuilding work.

The United Nations children's agency, Unicef, is sending emergency health kits each containing medical supplies for 10,000 people for three months.

Unicef is also carrying out assessments on the ground and working to provide safe water via lorries.

However, power cuts which have closed San Salvador international airport are likely to hamper efforts to fly in relief supplies.

Vital aid

Taiwan, which established its own rescue team following a devastating earthquake in 1999, is also sending its first overseas mission.

El Salvador rescue team
Local rescuers have been working to try and reach survivors
Taipei has offered $200,000 in emergency relief funds to El Salvador, as well as a group of 30 trained searchers.

On Sunday, Pope John Paul II offered prayers for the earthquake victims and spoke of the urgent need for further international aid contributions.

Emergency aid is vital in the aftermath of an earthquake, with drugs, water and shelter urgently required to prevent the death toll rising.

"In the middle of a large-scale emergency like this one, it is often easy to forget that the force of the earthquake is not the only threat to life", said David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK.

"Lack of shelter and of access to clean water can become major killers, especially when it comes to children", he added.

However, correspondents say that the vast majority of earthquake survivors are saved by their neighbours or local authorities, and that better training in life-saving techniques for those living in vulnerable areas is urgently needed.

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See also:

14 Jan 01 | Americas
Salvador quake buries hundreds
22 Sep 99 | World
Deadly history of earthquakes
30 Mar 99 | Medical notes
Natural disasters
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