MSF at the El Salvador earthquake - 2001

In a public service initiative, MSF has developed radio broadcasts to help survivors of the recent earthquakes cope with the likely psychological problems they will be experiencing.

MSF has developed three teams to work in the new earthquake zone in El Salvador. First assessments show a lack of water and shelter for the local population.

On January 12, 2001 an earthquake struck 55kms south of Playa Blanca, which is 100kms from capital, San Salvador. The earthquake brought immediate and extensive damage throughout the country.

MSF was already present in the country and teams were dispatched to the area immediately. Current activites have concentrated on water and sanitation (watsan) for the homeless, increasing medical staff at hospitals and the implementation of a mental health programme for the general population.

The most affected areas are La Libertad, San Vicente and La Paz. Six hospitals in the country have been destroyed; one each in La Libertad, La Paz, Sonsonate and San Miguel and two in Usulatan.

MSF is currently in El Salvador with 22 international staff and 35 national staff.

MSF information

February 5, 2001: Additional MSF staff arrive with relief supplies. Chosen at random, MSF has visited six villages near Bhuj to consider the medical and relief needs of the area. The dominant issue for the MSF ground staff remains distribution of shelter and basic relief goods to the population.

February 4, 2001: MSF continues work at El Salvador earthquake. The emergency intervention by MSF at the earthquake in El Salvador is entering a quieter
phase after the first two hectic weeks. Current activities focus on: medical attention in remote villages in different departments; prevention of cholera; mental health; and distribution of sufficient clean water supplies, sanitation and tents.

January 24, 2001: After the earthquake is a psychological disaster. "After the first disaster, the so-called natural disaster, a second disaster to take its toll on the victims is the psychological one".

January 15, 2001: MSF provides first assistance after El Salvador earthquake