Rim country resident Randy Roberson hopes to leave for El Salvador in the next few days to coordinate a $1.3-million shipment of medical supplies and equipment for the victims of the earthquake that struck that country last week.
Roberson's role will be to develop "on the spot" relations with customs and other government officials so medical supplies and water-purification units can be shipped to the country quickly and effectively.
"Without performing this task, it is impossible to ensure supplies will not end up on the black market," Roberson said.
The earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale, caused the deaths of 609 people. More than 2,400 people are missing, 25,195 residents have been evacuated and more than 46,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed.
More than 180 landslides were triggered by the earthquake, cutting off access to several communities. According to the Pan American Health Organization, many hospitals have sustained serious damage, and 40 to 50 percent of the residents of El Salvador do not have access to potable water.
Roberson, a part-time sports writer and photographer for the Roundup, is conducting the mission through World/Aid, a relief organization that he's been affiliated with for several years. While the relief supplies have already been donated, Roberson needs an additional $3,000 to cover travel expenses.
Donations can be dropped off at the Roundup office in the Swiss Village Shops at 708 N. Beeline Highway, or mailed to World/Aid, P.O. Box 393, Payson, AZ 85547.
For additional information or to arrange for a donation to be picked up, call Roberson at 472-8838.