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Salvador Airline Ferrying Mercy Missions of Medicine and Mesages With AM-Salvador Quake

October 17, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Salvadoran airline is ferrying messages from worried relatives to earthquake-stricken El Salvador along with medical supplies, food and tents.

Taca International Airlines, a privately owned Central American airline, is one of several agencies and companies that have pitched in to help carry messages between San Salvador and Southern California, where thousands of Salvadorans have settled.

″Mr. German Pena, from Mr. Jose A. Pena. Family is OK,″ read one message, followed by a telephone number of the U.S. resident to be contacted.

″To Waldo and Miriam Saravia from Martha De Arevalo. We OK but please call us,″ read another, again followed by a phone number.

About 15,000 pounds of supplies for earthquake victims are scheduled to fly out of Los Angeles International Airport early Saturday, according to Roberto Pena, division and district sales manager for Taca.

Another 15,000-pound shipment will fly out early Sunday, Pena said. Many of the supplies were donated by the United States, West Germany and Japan.

Late Wednesday night, four sacks of hastily scribbled messages from survivors of the earthquake arrived at the airport and were relayed by volunteers to family and friends here.

Pena said the airline carried about 10,000 inquiries from relatives in Southern California to Taca offices in San Salvador, where they were distributed to a local radio station for broadcast.

On Wednesday night, some 1,000 to 2,000 replies arrived in Los Angeles aboard Taca International Airlines Flight 510 from San Salvador.

″So far we have not received any letters with regard to any fatalities,″ Pena said.

The messages were taken from San Salvador residents at Taca offices in that city, according to airline spokesman Fabio Andrade.

″They go into the Taca office and we take their information on any piece of paper we can get our hands on,″ he said.

Once they are received at Taca’s Los Angeles office, employees working overtime and volunteers telephone the family members here and, if an address is provided, drop the message into the mail, Andrade said.

Flight 501 also carried the body of a man from San Salvador, but Pena said Thursday that he could not confirm reports that the man was an earthquake victim.

As many as 1,000 people were killed and more than 8,000 injured by the Oct. 10 quake in the Central American nation.

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