Nicaragua remains on alert for volcanic activity
On Watch: San Cristobal Volcano is still spewing eight times its normal emission level of sulfur (GRAPHOS Producciones)
The government’s emergency response system (SINAPRED) is maintaining a state of preventive alert in the northwestern departments of Chinandega and León after San Cristóbal Volcano erupted Saturday morning.
Although the volcano is showing some signs of calming down after three explosive belches on Saturday morning, school classes in Chinandega will remain suspended on Monday as the government and local population get to work cleaning up all the ash that fell on the schools over the weekend, according to the ministry of education.
Health ministry officials spent Sunday meeting with rural communities in Chinandega to explain proper sanitation practices and to see how the hospitals and health clinics were being affected by the eruption. The agricultural ministry is evaluating crop damages and the state water and sewage company (Enacal) is evaluating water supplies from local wells, the government reports.
The Nicaraguan Army has deployed 350 troops to the area to assist with more emergency response or evacuations if need be. Already 3,000 people from 16 nearby communities have been evacuated into temporary shelters.
The Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) reports that the volcano is still spewing eight times its normal emission level of sulfur. Saturday’s explosions shot ash and gas 5,000 meters into the sky, covering an area of nearly 2,500 square kilometers, INETER reports. There were also reports of landslides on the northern part of the crater.
This weekend’s eruption of San Cristóbal, Nicaragua’s largest volcano and one of the most active in the region, was its largest grumble in recent memory—far bigger, the government says, than the 2006 eruption.