Reports received by Church headquarters say 14 members of the Church died in last Saturday’s earthquake in El Salvador. While names are not available at this time, information indicates 11 perished in one neighborhood struck by a landslide; three died in one home in another part of San Salvador.
One section of San Salvador was devastated by a land slide, where most of the deaths occurred, and many homes were destroyed. Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Area President for Central America, visited San Salvador and reports that as a whole the city is not badly damaged.. “The worst damage is the area of the landslide which has been shown on television,” he said. Several Church meetinghouses also received minor damage.
Some meetinghouses are being used as temporary emergency shelters. One stake center of the Church, located within six blocks of the landslide area, is providing temporary shelter for several families left homeless by the quake. Missionaries are involved in cleanup and rescue efforts. On Monday, Elder Robbins saw about 30 missionaries working with community members in the landslide area.
Local leaders of the Church in Central America are using long-standing Church welfare procedures to help earthquake victims. Bishops will be using fast offering funds to provide for basic needs of members.
“There is no shortage of food,” says Elder Robbins. “The supermarkets are open. But some people are without shelter.” Plans are underway to provide building materials in selected circumstances so families and Church quorums can repair and rebuild members’ homes.
Based on assessments made in El Salvador, Church emergency response representatives at headquarters plan to purchase 500 tents through sources in Central America to provide shelter for people left homeless by the earthquake. A representative of Church Humanitarian Service will travel to El Salvador to consider other assistance.