Earthquake Off Pacific Coast of Nicaragua

This message is to alert U.S. citizens residing and travelling in Nicaragua that the U.S. Geological Survey reports that an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck 67 kilometers west-southwest of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua on October 13 at 9:51 p.m.

The Nicaraguan Government has issued an extreme “yellow” alert for the pacific coastal region of Nicaragua and a tsunami alert for the departments of Leon and Chinandega is still in place. Elementary and secondary schools in the pacific coast region have been ordered closed on Tuesday, October 14.  The Embassy has not received reports of injuries or significant damage to property, but media reports indicate some damage occurred in the Chinandega area.

U.S. citizens in Nicaragua should seek safe shelter and remain there if additional tremors occur. If exposed when an aftershock hits, try to get to open space, away from buildings and other structures. If indoors take shelter under a heavy table or desk. Avoid damaged buildings, and obey all instructions from local authorities. Do not use flame as gas lines might have ruptured. Avoid downed power lines. If possible, please contact friends and relatives outside of Nicaragua to inform them of your whereabouts and condition.

If you are at a beach area when an earthquake occurs, pay close attention to instructions from local authorities regarding any possible tsunami alerts.  If an alert is sounded, move quickly and safely to higher ground.

Please monitor the Embassy’s website for updated information http://nicaragua.usembassy.gov/emergency.html.  For further information please consult the Country Specific Information Sheet for Nicaragua, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

The temblors offer a reminder that we should all be prepared to deal with larger scale earthquakes and other natural disasters with a family emergency plan.

Emergency Planning for your family in an Emergency
Nicaragua is prone to severe natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes. Developing an emergency plan with your family and preparing your residence for such emergencies is vitally important.

Home Disaster Kits
You should stock your home with supplies that may be needed during the emergency period. An extensive list of suggested kit items can be found at www.ready.gov. At a minimum, your emergency kit should include:

  • Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 3-5 day supply of water (about five gallons for each person).
  • A 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Prescription medicines and needs for special medical conditions.
  • Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers and other baby supplies.
  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as “baby wipes” for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available.
  • Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
  • An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.

EARTHQUAKES
Below are some basic steps to consider in preparing your family for an earthquake:

  • Choose a safe place in every room—under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall, preferably in the corner of the room, where nothing can fall on you.
  • Practice COVER AND HOLD ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there is no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to COVER AND HOLD ON.
  • Prepare written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if advised to do so.
  • Inform domestic staff, babysitters and caregivers of safe places in your residence and your earthquake plan.

What to do when the shaking begins:
COVER AND HOLD ON!

  • Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. If you are indoors, stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit the structure. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to activate during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. If there are tall bookcases or other furniture items that could fall on you, move away from them.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

What to do after the shaking stops:

  • If trapped under debris, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing, try not to move around and kick up dust, do not light matches or use a lighter, and tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting will bring harmful dust into your lungs and reduce your strength.
  • If ambulatory, check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it is leaking.
  • Tune into local television for updates or check Nicaragua’s national weather and geographical authority at www.ineter.gob.ni  Also, information about the Nicaraguan disaster alert system can be found at http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one COVER AND HOLD ON!
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

The U.S. Embassy in Managua is located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua. We can be reached 24/7 at 011-505-2252-7100.  For emergencies (deaths, arrests, etc.) after hours, U.S. citizens can call this phone number and ask for the Embassy Duty Officer.  The ACS unit is also available by email at ACS.Managua@state.gov.  Non-emergency, services for U.S. citizens are available Monday through Friday, 1:00 to 3:00 PM, except on Nicaraguan and U.S. holidays, an appointment is required, and you may schedule an appointment on line: https://evisaforms.state.gov/acs/default.asp?postcode=MNG&appcode=1.