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The BBC's Peter Greste, in El Salvador
"The rescuers estimate over 300 homes and around 1000 people were buried"
 real 56k

Dennis McClean, Red Cross
"The underlying causes have not been addressed and that is what concerns us most"
 real 56k

The BBC's Mike Lanchin in San Salvador
"What we just experienced is one of the series of large aftershocks"
 real 28k

Monday, 15 January, 2001, 10:43 GMT
'Miracle' amid Salvador devastation
Residents of Santa Tecla forming circles to remove debris
Santa Tecla residents work to remove debris
Emergency workers in El Salvador have pulled out alive a 22-year-old man buried for more than 30 hours after Saturday's earthquake.

But the number known to have been killed in the disaster has now risen to more than 400 and, as hundreds of aftershocks hinder the rescue work, hopes are fading of finding any more survivors.

Where are my corpses? That's all I want to know so I can bury them

Miguel Orgega, resident of Santa Tecla

President Francisco Flores has asked Colombia to donate 3,000 coffins.

The earthquake, measuring more than 7.6 on the Richter scale, was felt throughout central America.

Rescue workers in the worst-hit area - the town of Santa Tecla, just outside the capital San Salvador - removed tons of debris before being able to pull Sergio Armando Moreno to safety.

Intravenous drip

Damage has been spread across the country
Mr Moreno, who had just returned to El Salvador after four years in the US, was painting his house when the quake struck. He was buried under a massive landslide that destroyed hundreds of homes.

He was kept alive by an intravenous drip and oxygen supplies that doctors squeezed through cracks in the debris as his parents looked on. His legs and pelvis were badly damaged in the crush.

But officials have little hope of finding other survivors in Santa Tecla, where the Red Cross says more than 1,000 people are missing.

Nobody has food or water, children do not have milk, nobody has eaten since Saturday

Resident of the village of Comasagua

A BBC correspondent in the town says the stream of corpses being discovered is now relentless and the authorities have been forced to begin mass funerals as the makeshift morgues cannot cope.

Several towns in eastern and western El Salvador are reported to have been completely destroyed, although with surprisingly low loss of life because of the adobe building material used.

But residents have been left for a second night without food or shelter.

Some of the country's hospitals are reaching breaking point, and patients are being turned away because medical staff can no longer cope with the large numbers of injured.

Plea for coffins

A Reuters journalist flying by helicopter with the army to the village of Comasagua, where more than 20 bodies have been uncovered, spoke to survivors who had not eaten since the quake struck.

El Salvador country profile
Pop: 6,122,515
Known as the Land of the Volcanos - suffers frequent earthquakes
Smallest and most densely populated central American state
12-year civil war ending in 1992 cost 75,000 lives
Deforestation and soil erosion major environmental issues (Source: CIA factbook

"Nobody has food or water, children do not have milk, nobody has eaten since Saturday," said one survivor, Cecilia Pena.

Several countries have pledged emergency supplies and cash to El Salvador. The country's National Emergency Commission estimates that, nationwide, 8,000 homes have been totally destroyed and nearly 17,000 damaged.

President Flores said: "We have asked the government of Colombia to donate 3,000 coffins, to put them at the disposal of people who cannot afford them."

The original quake also affected Guatemala, where two people died when houses collapsed in the town of Jalpatagua, near the border with El Salvador.

Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were also hit.

The last major earthquake in El Salvador was in 1986 when 1,400 people died.

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22 Sep 99 | World
Deadly history of earthquakes
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