From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Rapid Response by LWF, Lutheran Church after Second Salvadoran Earthquake

Date 16 Feb 2001 05:02:19

Noko Expresses Federation's Solidarity

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador/GENEVA, 16 February 2001 (LWI) - Emergency teams
of the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
field office in El Salvador rapidly delivered food and temporary shelter to
communities affected by the second major earthquake to hit the Central
American country in a month.

Medardo E. Gomez, bishop of the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod told the LWF that
the second earthquake affected communities and a nation that are already
vulnerable. The February 13 earthquake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale,
reportedly caused over 250 deaths, more than 1,500 injuries, left dozens of
towns collapsed and triggered renewed landslides that rendered some roads

"From a stage of reconstruction following damage suffered in the first
earthquake, [January 13] we must again alert our pastoral team workers and
lay people to continue delivering assistance and provide further aid
including counseling to the additional victims," Gomez said.

The LWF general secretary, Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, acknowledged the
commitment of the Lutheran church in providing relief and emergency
assistance to the general population. "The fact that this witness is today
possible in close collaboration with other churches is received with great
appreciation by the Lutheran communion of churches," Noko wrote in a
February 14 "solidarity letter" to Bishop Gomez.

Noko commended the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod for boldly challenging the
authorities on the general state of buildings in El Salvador. Following the
January earthquake, Bishop Gomez stated that losses could have been
minimized had the government and other responsible sectors ensured that the
necessary precautionary measures were in place. "Safety is possible only if
we build dwellings that are not so vulnerable," he cautioned.

Noko assured Gomez of the federation's continuing commitment towards the
reconstruction process in El Salvador through the LWF Department for World
Service (DWS) office there.

In San Salvador, the LWF office and the Lutheran church are working with
other members of Action by Churches Together (ACT), a worldwide network of
churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated

So far only USD 1.1 million has been raised toward a USD 3.9 million ACT
appeal to support victims of the initial earthquake in El Salvador. ACT is
based with the LWF and the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland.

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 131 member
churches in 72 countries representing over 60.2 million of the nearly 64
million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches
in areas of common interest such as ecumenical relations, theology,
humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various
aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in
Geneva, Switzerland.)

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the Lutheran
World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material presented does
not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various units.
Where the dateline of an article contains the notation (LWI), the material
may be freely reproduced with acknowledgement.]

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