Earth shaking intervention
more than 683 people were killed, 2,412 injured and hundreds reported missing when an earthquake hit Guatemala and El Salvador, two central American nations, on January 13, 2001. The highest number of deaths were reported from Santa Tecla, a suburb of San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador. Following the earthquake, a landslide killed 300 people and left at least 285 missing in Santa Tecla. Environmentalists have blamed the landslide on deforestation. The mudslide brought down an entire hillside in Cordillera del Balsamo, a natural reserve near the city.
For long, environmentalists and municipal officials had urged the government and the Supreme Court to block construction of mansions on the hills, saying that the trees there helped prevent landslides. Hence, the residents of Santa Tecla rightfully blamed the government for the disaster. "The government is responsible for these deaths,' said Alfredo Rodriguez, a resident of the suburb.
Development activities are taking place at the cost of the environment, he added.
Only two per cent of El Salvador's original forests remain, making the nation the second-most deforested in the Americas, after Haiti. Despite efforts to create national parks and reserves, the fast-growing population