Monday, October 10, 2016

30th anniversary of 1986 San Salvador earthquake

Thirty years ago today a massive earthquake struck San Salvador killing as many as 1,500 people.    The quake struck at ten minutes before noon on October 10, 1986  with a magnitude of 5.7.  The shallow quake caused considerable damage to El Salvador's capital city of San Salvador and surrounding areas, including neighboring Honduras and Guatemala.

The temblor caused between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths, 10,000 injuries, and left 200,000 homeless.   The shallow quake located just 7 km from the center of the capital city caused the destruction of many buildings. San Salvador's Benjamin Bloom children's hospital, a marketplace, many restaurants, office buildings, and poor neighborhoods were significantly damaged or destroyed.   It was a massive tragedy which came in the midst of El Salvador's 12 year civil war.

From the New York Times two days after the quake:
The death toll from a strong earthquake two days ago has risen to 890 and some stricken areas have still not been reached to search for victims, President Jose Napoleon Duarte said late tonight. 
Speaking in a televised news conference, Mr. Duarte said 10,000 people were injured in the quake Friday, and 150,000 left homeless. 
There ''are many people who are still buried and places where we have not reached,'' he said, suggesting the death toll could rise still higher.... 
A United States Embassy spokesman said the greatest needs were medicine, clean water and special torches and saws to cut steel and concrete. Four of the six major hospitals were severely damaged. 
Government officials said nine large neighborhoods had suffered major damage to at least 50 percent of their residences. It appears that thousands of homes were severely damaged, and survey teams today checked the badly destroyed downtown business district to decide which buildings to save.... 
Several buildings in the city center rested at crazy angles, like crushed sandwiches of concrete and glass. It seems likely that demolition and clearing efforts will take months. The downtown remained closed off today.
El Salvador's Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources released this video to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1986 quake showing many images of the destruction which occurred:

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