New quake shakes 'on red alert' Nicaragua

President raises alert level to red after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake on Friday follows one the day before.

    New quake shakes 'on red alert' Nicaragua
    An earlier earthquake on Friday killed one person, left 33 injured and damaged 800 homes. [AFP]

    A magnitude-6.6 earthquake has struck Nicaragua, sending people running frightened into the streets less than 24 hours after a magnitude-6.1 quake rattled the country.

    There were no immediate reports of new casualties or serious damage, but the the United States Geological Survey said the quake was felt in El Salvador and neighbouring Costa Rica.

    Friday's quake struck at 20:29 GMT, and was centred about 11km east-southeast of the town of Nandaime. It had a depth of 138km.

    President Daniel Ortega raised the country's alert level to red, meaning government officials were evacuating everyone at risk of harm from aftershocks or a new quake, according to an Associated Press news agency report.

    The government raised the number of people injured in Thursday's quake from 23 to 200, also saying a 23-year-old woman had died of an apparent heart attack after the quake.

    In the capital city of Managua, 300 homes were damaged and at least 20 were destroyed by that quake, said one of the mayor's deputies, Fidel Moreno.

    Authorities ordered the demolition of two old buildings that had withstood the earthquake of 1972 that killed 10,000 people. Hospitals began discharging patients with minor illnesses so they could have beds available in the event of injuries from an aftershock or new quake.

    "We're trying to take as many preventive measures as possible to prevent more deaths," said government spokeswoman and First Lady Rosario Murillo.

    On Thursday night, officials took 155 people out of neighbourhoods northeast of the capital due to risk of landslides. One of the shelters was still housing 22 families on Friday.

    Schools closed in the capital and also in the northwestern city of Leon.

    The government said roughly 800 homes were damaged in the town of Nagarote and surrounding areas, about 50km northwest of the capital.

    SOURCE: Associated Press


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