Chinandega, Nicaragua, Jul 6 (EFE).- What authorities described as a “small explosion” from San Cristobal Volcano was enough to leave communities in northwestern Nicaragua covered in ash Thursday and residents awoke to a strong odor of sulfur.
The main impact was in La Grecia, a village some 7 km (4 mi) from downtown Chinandega, Nicaragua’s sixth-largest city.
Extending 1,745 m (5,725 ft) above sea-level, San Cristobal is the tallest volcano in the Central American nation and one of the most active.
Wednesday’s activity was a “small eruption of moderate intensity of gas and ash,” according to the Sinapred disaster management agency.
Samuel Nuñez, who was a first responder in 1998 when a landslide at 1,405m Casita Volcan Casita resulting from the rains of Hurricane Mitch led to more than 2,000 deaths, told EFE Thursday that while the eruptions are frightening, he remains ready to spring to action in the event of a disaster at San Cristobal.
On Wednesday, he said, the ash “fell like hail on the houses.”
And a dense cloud of sand and ash settled on La Grecia after a particularly potent explosion, reducing visibility, and a haze continued to hang over the village on Thursday.
Residents are worried about the effects on their vegetable patches.
“The people are fearful because it’s the largest volcano we have, and in some patches the leaves are burning,” Sergio Picado told EFE.
Even so, most residents are calm and the chief concern is that the ash and gas will spur an outbreak of respiratory illness.
The Nicaraguan government urged area residents to avoid direct exposure to volcanic ash and heed the recommendations of local authorities. EFE mg/dr