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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Salvador,   pp. 801-805 PDF (1.4 MB)

Page 804

At the suggestion of local chapter Red Cross I requested 100 of
these tents for use in Salvador and received an order for them. They
were found to be utterly unfit for service having been ruined by last
rainy season. Have informed the Legation at Salvador no tents
available here.
The Charge' in Salvador (Arnold) to the Acting Secretary of State
No. 442                       SAN SALVADOR, May 9, 1919.
[Received May 22.]
SIR: I have the honor to report that the damage done by the recent
earthquake of April 28th is much greater than anticipated, especially
in the outlying sections of the city where whole squares of buildings
are raised [sic] to the ground. The number of homeless is very
large and as the rainy season is approaching, means must be found
to give them shelter.
The Red Cross has been reorganized and is working hard to meet
the situation. Public kitchens have been organized throughout the
city and hundreds are daily being treated at the various dispensaries
which have been opened in the different districts. The frame build-
ing erected by Minister Long during the last earthquake is one of
the Red Cross centers at present.
Lake Ilopango is being drained, as the center of the seismic dis-
turbances is supposed to be located there. It is an old Indian super-
stition recorded by the conquistadores that the waters of this Lake
should not exceed a certain level and until the time of the Presidency
of Don Carlos Melendez it had been adhered to. For six years this
has not been done and the waters were rising to such a height as to
inundate the surrounding country. The people have repeatedly pe-
titioned to the President to have the water removed but without
success. President George Melendez immediately after the recent
earthquake began operation and in a few days the water will resume
its usual height.
The Guatemalan Government donated $10,000. towards the relief
of the sufferers and are sending a commission of three to express
the condolences of the Government and People of Guatemala. Hon-
duras has also donated $10,000. to aid in the relief work.
Various organizations are being organized among the leading
citizens of the country whose object is to secure funds, to aid in
relief work and kirmesses are being formed for the same purpose.

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