(posted Sept. 5, 7:20 p.m.)- Nicaragua today canceled its tsunami alert for the Pacific towns of Masachapa and Pochomil following a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake rocked neighboring Costa Rica this morning, prompting precautionary school cancelations and evacuations along Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast, which was washed out by a tsunami 20 years ago.
The quake, which rattled the Pacific coast at 8:45 a.m. and caused at least 2 deaths and dozens of injuries in northwestern Costa Rica, was also felt throughout much of southern Nicaragua. The quake did not, however, cause any damage or injuries in Nicaragua. The government canceled the tsunami warning by early afternoon.
Cell phone service went down temporarily this morning due to saturation of the lines in the minutes following the quake, but Claro reported that there was no damage to any of its infrastructure.
Administration spokeswoman Rosario Murillo lauded the government’s response to the earthquake and said authorities would meet this evening to evaluate their performance.
“In addition to mobilizing in response (to the earthquake), our commitment is to defend lives and we still need to strengthen some of the links (of our institutional response),” Murillo told her family’s media outlets. “This was a great exercise in prevention and a great exercise that put us to the test (to know) how we are and where we need to be.”
Today’s quake, with its epicenter 20 kilometers off the coast of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, claimed at least two lives and caused dozens of injuries. The Tico Times reports that several buildings, roads and bridges, including the Taiwanese funded Friendship Bridge over the Tempisque River (Costa Rica’s largest bridge) were damaged by the quake.
Today’s quake was the strongest one in a chain of noticeably increased seismic activity in Central America over the past month. A group of U.S. experts from the University of Florida are currently in the Nicaragua studying the recent seismological activity and will present a final report to President Daniel Ortega later this month.