Surviving Earthquakes & Other disasters in Nicaragua

Over the years Nicaragua has been hard hit with many natural disasters.  The most disastrous was the earthquake of 1972 but there have been numerous other disasters to occur in the area including Hurricane Mitch in 1998.  The earthquake in 1972 in Managua hit in the middle of the night killing thousands of people.  The earthquake injured thousands more and left a few hundred thousand homeless.  Disasters like the earthquake in 1972 in Managua and hurricanes that affect the entire country have had a devastating effect on the country.

When traveling or relocating abroad, one of the most important factors to consider is safety. Of course, there is always some risk associated with international travel to areas prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. With that being said, there are various precautions which you can take to ensure your safety while visiting or for extended living. These include packing a first-aid kit, practicing cautionary eating and drinking, and increasing your overall alertness of yourself and your surroundings.

While in Nicaragua, there are some dangers which may be completely out of your control, such as natural disasters. Therefore, it is important to know whether a region  of the country you are traveling to has a strong disaster preparedness strategy and appropriate preventative infrastructure. Over the past several years, Nicaragua has impressively developed its disaster preparedness infrastructure to ensure the safety of both locals and tourists alike.

Lessons from the Past

In its past, Nicaragua has faced various natural disasters, most notably the Managua Earthquake in 1972 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998. While these events were tragic, they were greatly beneficial to Nicaragua in the long term as far as Disaster readiness.  As a result of Mitch, there was a major shift in the country’s preparedness methods and disaster control.

Now it is common to find anti-seismic buildings, flood prevention mechanisms, repaved roads, and increased water accessibility. Effectively, these improvements have immensely reduced the impact of natural disasters on the people of Nicaragua.

Implemented Infrastructure

Natural disasters happen in all parts of the world, and they are virtually unavoidable. However, with proper defensive infrastructure, the impacts of these events can be substantially reduced. In addition to the physical improvements listed above, there have also been great societal advances to Nicaragua’s disaster prevention plan. Throughout the country, local Red Cross branches and similar foundations have collaborated with schools, universities, and other partner organizations to brainstorm and spread precautionary information regarding relevant natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods.


A few years ago, the Nicaraguan government instituted a large-scale plan as part of the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, and Attention (SINAPRED) to educate its citizens on how to effectively stay safe in the case of natural catastrophes. As part of this initiative, thousands of locals have been trained to go door-to-door to educate people on how to prepare for, and stay safe during, potential natural occurrences. Likewise, this plan established escape routes, shelters, and assistance centers throughout the country to offer universal aid in the case of a disaster. Several disaster drills by government officials are conducted throughout the year in different municipalities to prepare personnel and the general population in the event of disaster.



The red cross has also taken various steps in providing disaster preparedness in the case of an earthquake, tsunami, or fire. Each major city has implemented a comprehensive tsunami and earthquake strategy to ensure the safety of citizens. In the case of an earthquake or tsunami threat,  emergency personnel from the police and civil defense force have been trained to take immediate action to  to ensure the immediate evacuation of all persons from areas of potential impact. There are designated routes assigned to each municipality and most hotels etc have signage with maps of emergency escape routes.


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