817.48 Earthquake of 1931/18: Telegram

The Minister in Nicaragua (Hanna) to the Secretary of State

I am coordinating relief activities pending arrival Red Cross representative. With rations on hand and those en route on naval vessels Brigade Commander is prepared to feed entire population of Managua for 10 to 12 days. City water supply destroyed but water from various other sources being collected and rationed by Marines and Guardia. Several Navy planes and ships on way with medical supplies, etc. Virtually all civilian population of Managua homeless. Estimated several hundred killed and much larger number injured. Guardia and civilians engaged in excavating and burying bodies. Work hazardous on account of continued tremors. No additional American dead reported. Army engineers under Colonel Sultan are fighting fire which has diminished in intensity. Legation totally destroyed with everything it contained. Brigade Commander has recommended that all families of Marines and American Guardia officers totalling about 175 be evacuated to United States. There are few habitable houses in Managua. Neediest portion of population is being concentrated in La Loma Field just south of the city. I have conferred with President Moncada and the American relief efforts are being coordinated with Government’s efforts. I have proposed that refugees be evacuated as rapidly as practicable to Leon, Granada and other nearby towns and this is now under consideration.