Nicaragua makes headlines Friday morning as an unanticipated and powerful earthquake shook the country on Thursday afternoon April 10th.
President Daniel Ortega has declared a red alert in the whole country after a quake of 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale left one dead, over 30 injured, nearly 800 damaged homes and thousands of residents affected.
Ortega said he decided to raise the alert level because the earthquake “has caused damage to a large area of our country,” mainly in the Pacific region, where the epicenter took place, reports El Nuevo Herald.
The earthquake struck at 5:27 p.m. local time and was centered about 12 miles north of the capital, near the volcano Apoyeque on the shores of Lake Xolotlan, with a depth of six miles, according to the Geological Survey (USGS).
Two of the most affected cities were Managua and Leon, where Ortega ordered to suspend classes on Friday April 11th.
Quake frightens Nicaragua’s residents
The strong and unexpected earthquake left many residents shocked and worried.
“I was sleeping in my room upstairs and the earthquake woke me up,” Jonathan Arauz from Managua, Nic., 34, told VOXXI.
“I felt terror and ran downstairs to find safety.” A series of small quakes followed, in which Arauz only felt three of the over 350 replicas thereafter.
In the colonial city of Leon, Nic., 24-year-old Jefferson Cortez was also home when the quake hit.
“It felt as if there was a hole beneath the ground,” Cortez recalled, stating that he and his family found refuge in their backyard.
Cortez said that quakes are very common in Leon but rarely of that magnitude.
At the same time of the happening, Genaro Salinas from Leon, was working when his team was evacuated from the building and rushed to find safety at a nearby park.
Salinas told VOXXI he was calm at first, but felt alarmed and preoccupied because he had never experienced anything like that.
“I’ve never been afraid of earthquakes,” Salinas, 30, said, stating those were the longest 15 seconds of his life.
Salinas and his colleagues resumed working after the shock.
Meanwhile, Milton Guillen and his co-workers, were also evacuated from their job at UNAN University but were sent home.
Guillen, who immediately contacted his loved ones, said he was nervous and concerned for Nicaragua’s community.
“If the earthquake continued any longer, everyone’s lives would have changed forever,” the 30-year-old said.
In fact, the red cross evacuated all the patients in Leon’s Hospital Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales Arguello during night hours to prevent more serious damages.
On the other hand, some residents tried to remain calm, like Kevin Berry Ingram, a local who works in a hostel.
“My boss and I helped relocate our guests to a safe place and began talking with them,” he said, also saying that he kept tranquil after having four cups of coffee and 10 cigarettes.
Nicas in the exile reach out
In the aftermath, Nicaraguans in the exile show concerns and reach out for the impacted country.
In Miami, Fla. resident Vicente Izaguirre sent out a Facebook invite to his followers with an event called: Emergency meeting to help Nicaraguan victims of the earthquake.
“As a human being and Nicaraguan, I feel obligated to help my people,” Izaguirre said, who has been involved with the Nicaraguan community in South Florida for almost 30 years.
The reunion, which will be held on Friday night April 11th in Miami, is the first step to helping the victims that were mostly affected by the disaster.
Those who attend will be encouraged to voice their opinions on the incident and then come to terms on how help will be sent out.
“We want Nicaraguans to know that people in the exile are aware of what’s happening in the country and that they are not alone,” Izaguirre said.
The 6.1 earthquake alarmed residents, and although the Central American country is in red alert, every day life continues in hopes of no more natural disasters.