Already stretched by a string of natural catastrophes in Central America, evangelical relief and missions organizations are appealing for help in El Salvador after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake there January 13.

"We're certainly looking for resources," says the Managua-based Kevin Sanderson of World Relief (Carol Stream, Illinois). "If God's calling someone to help us, please do."

As many as 2,000 people are feared dead in the tiny country, many in the Santa Tecla community, where the quake launched a mudslide that buried parts of the Las Colinas neighborhood. Droughts and floods have battered Central America in recent years. Relief organizations are still rebuilding Honduras and Nicaragua in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, which razed entire communities in 1998.

Sanderson estimates the quake damaged or destroyed 75,000 houses, which will cost $2,500 each to rebuild. After El Salvador's initial emergency needs are met, cam International, as well as other missions and relief organizations, will send short-term volunteer construction crews, says Dan Wicher, cam's president.

Other groups helping include World Vision and Latin America Mission. Sanderson and Wicher report that the quake also damaged or destroyed dozens of evangelical churches.

Coming up with funds may not be easy. "[The earthquake] is coming at a time when everybody's naysaying the [U.S.] economy, and certainly that has an impact on the funding you raise," Sanderson says. "But that doesn't impact the need or the call. [One can hope that] something like this emergency opens up purse strings."

Related Elsewhere

The Lutheran World Federation's site offers a story about the El Salvador from the LWF news service.

World Vision's site allows you to read field report updates from quake relief volunteers in India and El Salvador.

More news updates on El Salvador's earthquake are available from Yahoo's full coverage area.

Christianity Today ran a story about the Evangelical Church in El Salvador's Centennial in 1997.

Recent media coverage of aid in El Salvador includes:

International aid for quake victims — News24 (Jan. 29, 2001)
Quake Hits Close to Home for Md. FirmThe Washington Post (Jan. 29, 2001)

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