Nicaragua Quake Survivors Get Homes—40 Years Later

Government relocates hundreds of refugees from 1972 quake
By Luke Kelly-Clyne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2011 10:27 AM CDT
A man unloads his belongings from a vehicle to a new house in the old downtown area of Managua, Nicaragua.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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(Newser) – In the aftermath of a 1972 earthquake that leveled 50,000 buildings and killed 10,000 in Nicaragua's capital city of Managua, many of the country's poor had no place to go. While 250,000 of their middle- and upper-class counterparts migrated to safer, more habitable locales, the less fortunate occupied the crumbling remains of the few standing vacated apartment buildings. Four decades later, the government has relocated those 103 families to new homes, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness in the US explains what took so long: "The larger the disaster, the more necessary it is to have the government as the principal driver of recovery," especially in the developing world. Though many Nicaraguan refugees are relieved to move away from the dangers of falling apartment buildings where vigilante law prevailed, spending 40 years in one spot will bring apprehensions about change. "New beginnings are hard," one refugee says. "But we have a house, we have a roof, and we have water. And that's what's important."

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