6.1 earthquake shakes western Nicaragua

Tremor kills at least 1 person and injures 33; more than 800 houses destroyed or damaged

A strong earthquake killed one person and injured 33 in western Nicaragua on Thursday, according to authorities, who added that more than 800 houses were damaged in the 6.2-magnitude temblor.

The quake caused people to run into the streets in a panic, and callers to local radio stations complained that electricity and water services had been disrupted in their areas. In 1972, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Managua, the capital, killed at least 5,000 people and left thousands homeless. Rebuilding changed the face of the city, a daily reminder of a large-scale tragedy.

On Thursday, the hardest hit area was the town of Nagarote, located about 30 miles northwest of Managua, along with the communities around it, where more than 700 houses were destroyed or damage, according to government officials.

Guillermo González, director of the disaster prevention agency said that at least 23 people were injured by falling walls, ceilings and other objects. Three of the injured were taken to a Managua hospital.

González said that two houses were damaged in Managua and landslides had blocked two highways south of the capital.

Authorities suspended classes on Friday in the cities of Leon and Managua.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 5:27 p.m. local time and was centered about 11 miles southeast of the city of Larreynaga. It had a depth of 6.2 miles.

Nicaraguans reported feeling a strong aftershock minutes later that the USGS said was a 5.1-magnitude quake centered 3 miles west of Ciudad Sandino.

The earthquake hit less than two weeks after magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile's northern coast on April 1 caused a tsunami and left several dead. A day later, it was followed by magnitude 7.6 earthquake, which caused no new major damage or casualties.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press

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