February 23, 2001

Another quake rattles El Salvador

                  SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- Yet another moderately strong earthquake
                  shook El Salvador on Friday, again causing people panicked by two earlier, larger
                  quakes to flee into the streets.

                  The country's Seismological Service said the 10:22 a.m. (1122 EST) quake had a
                  magnitude of 4.5 and was centered in the area of the capital. Because it was
                  relatively shallow, the quake was felt more strongly than many other quakes of
                  similar magnitude.

                  Officials said they had no reports of victims from the new temblor, which shook
                  buildings. Thousands of aftershocks have hit the country since the magnitude
                  7.6 quake on Jan. 13.

                  Meanwhile, President Francisco Flores was preparing to leave for a meeting in
                  Spain to ask international donors for more aid to help it cope with devastation
                  caused by the Jan. 13 and Feb. 13 quakes that together killed more than 1,200
                  people and destroyed or damaged 335,000 houses -- more than 20 percent of
                  those in the country.

                  The international Economic Commission for Latin America estimated that
                  January's magnitude 7.6 quake cost 32,540 jobs in this country of 6 million
                  people. It estimated the cost of the quake at more than U.S.$1.2 billion -- equal
                  to 9.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product this year.

                  It was followed by a magnitude 6.6 quake in February.

                  "We estimate that between the two earthquakes, the damage is a little more than
                  U.S.$2 billion," said Juan Jose Daboub, Flores' technical secretary.

                  Daboub said the country was overwhelmed by the losses. "In terms of housing,
                  for example, the country can build 20,000 housing units a year and today we
                  have to build almost 200,000 in the coming months."

                  Flores and his aides were to meet in Madrid with the Consultative Group of
                  donor countries and financial organizations.

                  In a bit of good economic news, the government reported Friday that
                  Salvadorans living in the United States sent home U.S.$147.6 million in January,
                  a record figure and an increase of 15.5 percent over the same period last year.

                  The director of monetary policy for the Central Reserve Bank, Luis Alberto
                  Aquino, said the increase "is a result of the family aid by Salvadorans living in the
                  United States to help relatives in their work of rebuilding houses and replacing
                  goods" lost in the quake.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.