6.3 Quake Shakes Country

October 15, 2004

GRANADA, Nicaragua – For thesecond time in two weeks, Nicaraguansran out into the streets on Saturdayafternoon when a quake rocked thecountry.The quake, measuring 6.3 on theRichter scale with an epicenter 50 milesoff the southern Pacific coast, accordingto the Institute of Territorial Studies,struck at 3:26 p.m., causing panicthroughout the country and mild structuraldamage to homes in Managua andother Pacific-slope cities.Passengers at Managua InternationalAirport threw metal trashcans through theglass doors to escape the terminal, whichsuffered minor structural damages. Panicalso ensued at some hospitals whenguards attempted to stop patients and othersfrom running out of the building withoutwritten discharge notices from thedoctors.The jolt was felt throughout much ofCosta Rica as well, especially throughoutthe northern Pacific province ofGuanacaste, but no damage was reported.Saturday’s quake was the same magnitudeas the diastrophism that leveledManagua in 1972 and left thousandsdead. Disaster was adverted this time,according to geologists, because the epicenterwas deeper in the earth and thequake did not last as long.Nicaragua’s Civil Defense – the firstline of emergency response – admittedthis week that Nicaragua is unpreparedfor major quake, which could potentiallycause more damage than the one in 1972.

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