Powerful earthquake in Salvador

The earthquake, measuring more than 7.6 on the Richter scale, was felt throughout central America on Sunday. The town of Santa Tecla, just outside the capital San Salvador where the Red Cross says more than 1,000 people are missing seems to be the worst-hit area. The number known to have been killed in the disaster has now risen to more than 400 and, as hundreds of aftershocks hinder the rescue work, hopes are fading of finding any more survivors. President Francisco Flores has asked Colombia to donate 3,000 coffins. A BBC correspondent says the stream of corpses being discovered is now relentless and the authorities have been forced to begin mass funerals as the makeshift morgues cannot cope. Several towns in eastern and western El Salvador are reported to have been completely destroyed, although with surprisingly low loss of life because of the adobe building material used. But residents have been left for a second night without food or shelter. The last major earthquake in El Salvador was in 1986 when 1,400 people died.

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