San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Earthquakes diminish in Nicaragua, but country remains on red alert

MANAGUA — The earthquakes have decreased in Nicaragua. However the country planned Wednesday to maintain the current red alert due to experts not being able to assure that the danger of another big earthquake has passed.

Nicaragua was rocked by two earthquakes last week with a magnitude greater than 6.0. The country has experienced thousands of aftershocks, and the shaking has left two dead, injured at least 41 and damaged thousands of homes, forcing widespread evacuations. 

“It is true that there is less seismic activity, but unfortunately that means absolutely nothing, no expert can say that the situation has completely calmed down, nobody ventures to say it,” said first lady and government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo.

Nicaragua seemed to have regained the calm after five days of constant tremors that kept the population on edge, principally in Managua, where officials authorities warned even Monday about the risk of a major earthquake.

“We have to remain vigilant of the signs” that the government “has given us as to not mourn (more) casualties,” said Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes to thousands of followers during a procession in Managua to start the Holy Week celebrations.

The government Wednesday called on the population to continue sleeping in safe places until the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies and seismologists from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile and the United States, who are in the country, agree with certainty that the worst is over.

Managua sits over a series of fault lines that converge at Lake Managua. In 1972, the capital was destroyed by a devastating earthquake that left 10,000 dead and hundreds injured.

Murillo said that the experts need several days to clarify whether “this crisis is resolved, which does not mean that another won’t begin, simply because the land, the volcanoes, are so unpredictable.”

Earlier in the week, Murillo said the government planned to begin reconstruction in 17 cities affected by the two quakes on Thursday and Friday, half of which are near Lake Managua.

Nicaragua declared the red alert last Thursday after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake was felt 20 kilometers north of the capital.


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