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El Salvador


The earthquakes of January 13 and February 13, 2001 and succeeding tremors killed 1,240 persons, destroyed 149,000 homes, severely damaged approximately 850,000 others and displaced or affected over 1,600,000 people in a country with a total population of 6,000,000. Most of the severe damage was located in the communities of the poor in the mountainous regions. The El Salvadoran government issued several hundred sets (30 corrugated tin sheets/set) for temporary shelter to families in 2001 and 2002. Internal organizations such as The University of Central America, CRIPDES, Maryknoll, Rotary and others have built several hundred shelters. Many international agencies have contributed several thousand houses, but the need continues to be great.


"The Earthquakes in El Salvador have acted as an x-ray of the massive gap between the rich and the poor. Rich areas show virtually no sign of damage, whereas poor areas have been completely decimated. Reconstructing the country to its previous condition is not enough – poor people did not have adequate housing before the quakes. The real challenge is to get enough aid to El Salvador to build houses and an infrastructure that can withstand future natural disasters." (quoted from CAFOD web site 12/15/02)

John & Patsy Smart began spending the winter months in Ajijic, Mexico. There they supported an orphanage, Amor in Action, for boys and girls from the area who otherwise would have been living on the street. As the number of children grew and aged it became apparent that the boys needed a separate facility. SheltersPlus bought and renovated a house in nearby Ixtlahuacan. Hope House is now a boys orphanage where over twenty-five boys and staff live and work. The boys receive safe housing, schooling and skills training.


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