El Salvador 2001

International Information

International Operation Name: El Salvador 2001

International Mission Name: El Salvador 2001

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Central America

Location: El Salvador

Mission Date: 14 January 2001 - 16 January 2001

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (El Salvador 2001)

Canadian Task Force Mission Statement: To airlift relief supplies to El Salvador after a major earthquake.

CF Mission/Operation Notes: The quiet of a late Saturday afternoon was broken on 13 January 2001 when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck El Salvador. The tremors were felt as far north as Mexico City and south to Panama. Although the epicentre was situated off the coast of El Salvador about 100 km southeast of San Salvador, over the next two days strong aftershocks, including one of 5.4 on January 14th, centred near the capital brought down more buildings, burying survivors of the first quake. 

Over 900 people died and approximately 8,000 were injured. Over 276,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. Transportation systems were also disrupted, with 2300 kms of roads damaged. Landslides also caused extensive destruction, over 700 persons disappearing when the town of Santa Tecla, near San Salvador, and its 268 homes were buried. This earthquake directly affected over one-quarter of the country‚Äôs population. 

Then, exactly one month to the day later, on February 13, 2001, a second earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, struck. The epicenter of the second earthquake was located some 20 miles east of the capital city, San Salvador. A further 255 people were killed. 

In January, 436 Squadron flew relief supplies to El Salvador. Blankets, building materials and medical supplies arrived at CFB Trenton on 14 January and were loaded into two Hercules during the evening. The first Hercules left at 2:00 AM, followed by the second at 4:00 AM. Both arrived in San Salvador that day.

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