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The BBC's Fiona Werge
"El Salvador is running out of time"
 real 28k

The BBC's Mike Lanchin in San Salvador
"City dwellers were sent running out onto the streets in panic"
 real 56k

Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 18:07 GMT
El Salvador to renew quake appeal
A woman walks by a car almost buried by the debris caused by January quake
Parts of El Salvador remain strewn with rubble
El Salvador's President Francisco Flores is to visit Europe in the next few days to seek further emergency funds after his country's third big earthquake in a month.

The latest tremor, which measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, struck on Saturday spreading panic and triggering landslides. No fatalities have been reported.

President Francisco Flores
President Flores will make a personal appeal for help
It was the latest in series of aftershocks following two major quakes on 13 February and 13 January in which at least 1,000 people died and more than one million people were left homeless.

The BBC's Fiona Werge says the need for aid has become all the more urgent as El Salvador's rainy season is due to start soon.

Damage from the January quake alone is estimated to be at least $1.3 bn - over 15% of the country's annual economic output.

Following the latest tremor, President Flores appeared on radio and television urging residents of the capital, San Salvador, to remain calm.

"I want to tell the residents of the capital that I am near you, maintaining a state of continuous alert with a monitoring operation," he said.

Reports of rumbling

The latest quake's epicentre was about three miles (5km) from San Salvador, along a fault line in the San Hasinto hill.

Man at the rubble of his house
One million people have been left homeless
"It felt very strong, and then I saw a big dust cloud on the volcano," said Jose Canizales, from Canton Alvarez, a small village on the slopes of the volcano overlooking the capital.

People living close to the hillsides on the south side of the city have been reporting rumbling sounds coming from inside since last Tuesday's earthquake.

There were reports of three landslides at communities in the east of the country. Several main roads are reported to have been cut off.

San Vicente
Hundreds of people died in the other quakes
However, Red Cross and emergency officials said earlier reports of people trapped under landslides have proved to be untrue.

Although damage from the latest tremor appears to be relatively light, El Salvador's devastated roads, communications and water supplies have yet to be repaired.

The country has still to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch three years ago, and just in time to wreck President Flores economic reforms.

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See also:

16 Feb 01 | Americas
Salvador aid crisis looms
15 Feb 01 | Americas
Quake areas 'near panic'
14 Feb 01 | World
Deadly history of earthquakes
30 Mar 99 | Medical notes
Analysis: Natural disasters
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