Earthquakes kill three in Nicaragua; toll expected to rise
At least 50 houses were wrecked by `a swarm of tremors' -- perhaps a dozen.
BY GLENN GARVIN
MANAGUA -- Earthquakes rattled up and down Central America for
Thursday, leaving at least three dead and 32 more injured in Nicaragua, where the
strongest tremor occurred.
Nicaraguan civil defense authorities said the casualty count was
likely to rise as
they reached homes flattened by the quakes in small towns a few miles south of
At least 50 houses were wrecked by what officials described as
``a swarm of
tremors'' -- perhaps as many as a dozen -- that rippled through Nicaragua
beginning at 3:30 p.m EDT. Two hours earlier, earthquakes shook El Salvador and
Guatemala, but no injuries or significant damage were reported there.
It was a different story in Nicaragua. The first tremor had a
magnitude of 5.9, the
second 4.0, and they were magnified because the quakes were barely half a mile
underground, said the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies.
The epicenter of the two biggest tremors was Lake Apoyo, located
the city of Masaya, about 20 miles south of Managua. But the tremors were felt
all along the country's Pacific coast, from the Honduran border in the north to the
Costa Rican border in the south.
The impact was sharp in Managua as well, where hundreds of people
the streets. The city has been destroyed three times by earthquakes, including
the devastating 1972 quake that killed about 11,000 people.
The three reported fatalities Thursday were children. One was
killed on the shores
of Lake Apoyo and another in the nearby town of Catarina, both crushed by the
collapsing walls of their homes. Details of the third death were unavailable.
Tremors are a common occurrence in Nicaragua, but seismic activity
steadily increasing over the past month, triggering worrisome activity at volcanoes
that dot the Pacific coast.