1947: Deadly Volcanic Eruption in Nicaragua Menaces Nearby City

Credit…International Herald Tribune

MANAGUA, Nicaragua, July 21. — The Cerros Negros volcano, which for the past ten days has been spewing hot stones and volcanic ash over the countryside, suddenly broke with a tremendous roar into an eruption today, causing a number of deaths in Leon, thirteen miles away.

Reports from Leon indicated nothing can save the city from destruction.

Complete evacuation of the city of 70,000 was immediately contemplated.

The volcano in the past ten days of eruptions has ravaged an estimated 289 square miles of Nicaragua’s richest farmlands and left thousands homeless.

Leon City’s 70,000 will be added to those already driven from shelter by ashes and the heavy fog of gas, which accounted for an unestimated number of deaths in Leon today.

The 1,731-foot cone — thirteen miles northeast of Leon City — tossed rocks thousands of feet into the air as awed correspondents watched from a railroad car near Leon.

In an hour’s ride reporters saw dead horses, cattle and other animals along the tracks.

At the small town of Malpaicillo, out of the danger zone, there were about 500 half-naked persons who had fled from farms and were awaiting transportation to government camps.

Pastures and farms for miles around the volcano were covered with inches of black ashes, and the sky was darkened almost to the density of night by clouds of smoke.

— New York Herald Tribune, European Edition, July 22, 1947.

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