Nicaraguans stay put despite volcano warning


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - Page 7

About 1,500 farmers living on the slopes of the San Cristobal volcano refused to leave on Wednesday, despite being ordered to evacuate as the volcano spewed gas, sand and ash.

“People have not evacuated because we do not want to go and leave the area abandoned,” Maria Pereira said.

Pereira lives in “Grecia 4,” a community of about 600 people at the base of the volcano, in the Chinandega Department.

She said columns of ash “bathed the trees, houses and roads in white” and “pretty sand fell” in the morning.

In another community near the volcano, Bethlehem, some farmers resisted efforts of Civil Defense officials to convince them to obey the evacuation order.

About 140 Civil Defense troops have been deployed to “persuade” farmers to move away from the danger zone, state deputy Colonel Nestor Solis said.

The government issued a yellow alert on Wednesday, ordering the evacuation of 300 families living near the volcano.

Nicaraguan first lady Rosario Murillo, a government spokeswoman, said: “The situation of the volcano is unstable.”

She did not specify how many had obeyed the evacuation order or where they are being housed.

San Cristobal, the tallest of Nicaragua’s seven active volcanoes, is believed to have erupted for the first time in 1685.