|UTC time||1931-03-31 16:02:19|
|Local date||31 March 1931|
|Depth||15 km (9.3 mi)|
|Total damage||$15–35 million|
|Max. intensity||VI (Strong)|
The 1931 Nicaragua earthquake devastated Nicaragua's capital city Managua on 31 March. It had a moment magnitude of 6.1 and a maximum MSK intensity of VI (Strong). Between 1,000 and 2,450 people were killed. A major fire started and destroyed thousands of structures, burning into the next day. At least 45,000 were left homeless and losses of $35 million were recorded.
The earthquake hit Managua at 10:19 AM on 31 March, and caused cracks to spread throughout the western side of the city. East Managua was largely untouched.The quake was largely centered in Managua. Granada, Nicaragua was unaffected.
The earthquake caused a large fire, which burned for five days, destroying 33 blocks in "the richest and most important area of the city". All major government buildings in the city except for the National Bank of Nicaragua and most of the nation's archives were destroyed. The city, which at the time had a population of around 60,000 people, saw the vast majority left homeless. Ernest J. Swift, the director of relief efforts undertaken by the American Red Cross, estimated damages at around $15 million.The most deaths occurred in the city's penitentiary.
American marines and the Gaurdia Nacional immediately began working to restore order in Managua. American navy soldiers established a hospital while army soldiers fought the fire.Daniel I. Sultan, an American soldier who was leading the Nicaragua Canal Survey, organized a relief team of 34 soldiers, and was on an emergency committee for responding. He was charged with overseeing the restoration of railroads and water to the city, and chaired a food relief committee that provided 24,000 rations daily by April 24. The American Red Cross initially provided $10,000 towards relief, before increasing the amount to $100,000. People from Mexico and Panama, as well as other Central American countries, were sent to assist in relief and rebuilding efforts. America flew in medical supplies, working to prevent the outbreak of various diseases.
In March 1932, The New York Times reported that "the Nicaraguan capital Is slowly emerging from ruins caused by 1931 earthquake". Rents fell by 40% in the year following the earthquake, and the city had slowly been rebuilding. Efforts were hampered by a lack of funding.The city was eventually rebuilt in the Spanish Colonial architecture style.
Managua is the capital and largest city of Nicaragua, and the center of an eponymous department. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua and inside the Managua Department, it has an estimated population 1,042,641 in 2016 within the city's administrative limits and a population of 1,401,687 in the metropolitan area, which additionally includes the municipalities of Ciudad Sandino, El Crucero, Nindirí, Ticuantepe and Tipitapa.
Daniel Isom Sultan was an American general. Sultan was born in Oxford, Mississippi, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1907. He entered the United States Army Corps of Engineers and rose through the ranks, teaching engineering at West Point from 1912 to 1916, before travelling to the Philippines. He oversaw construction of fortifications on various islands, and eventually was in charge of all US Army fortification work in the Philippines. He then served on the War Department General Staff and the general staff of the American Expeditionary Forces until 1922. Sultan led the Nicaragua Canal Survey and commanded American troops in the country from 1929 to 1931, when he returned to the United States and wrote a report on the canal.
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