“Rebuilding in El Salvador,” Ensign, May 2001, 111
Latter-day Saints in El Salvador are rebuilding their lives after three devastating earthquakes struck their country in January and February. The quakes left more than 1,200 people dead and more than a million homeless. Fifteen Latter-day Saints died in the quakes, and thousands of members lost their homes.
The Church sent more than a million pounds of sleeping bags, tents, blankets, hygiene kits, school kits, food, and medical supplies to the ravaged nation. Three LDS Family Services practitioners were also sent to El Salvador to assist disaster victims and to train area mental health professionals.
Local priesthood leaders counseled members to pray daily as families, read the scriptures, and sing Church hymns to maintain inner peace in the face of such tragedy. Melchizedek Priesthood holders were also asked to offer blessings of comfort to those in need.
Local leaders are using fast offering funds to provide materials for members to build new homes. Full-time missionaries are assisting with building efforts.
Also assisting the Salvadoran members were Latter-day Saints of the Palos Verdes California Stake, who filled several 40-foot containers with blankets, tents, and clothing that were sent to El Salvador. Although not a Church member himself, a native of El Salvador whose wife is a member of the stake paid for the shipment of the containers to his home country.