817.48 Earthquake of 1031/73: Telegram

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

The relief organization at present is as follows as noted in my telegram [of the] 3d, 8 p.m.

The Central Committee of which President Moncada is Honorary Chairman and the American Minister is Chairman has direct supervision of all relief including the expenditure of Red Cross funds. President Moncada has appointed local committees of distinguished citizens in the following places: Managua, León, Chinandega, Masaya, Carazo, Granada, to supervise local relief and cooperate with the Central Committee.

The local committee in Managua consists of Colonel Sultan as Chairman and Ramon Sevilla, Minister of Education, and Francisco Frixione, Commissioner of the National District, as members. This committee is now dividing the city into districts and appointing a subcommittee for each district. It is proposed that these committees will organize the distribution of relief in Managua so as to terminate mass feeding as speedily as practicable and substitute therefor the distribution of uncooked rations in return for which able-bodied males [Page 793] without occupation will be required to give a reasonable amount of labor. This labor probably will be employed at the outset in cleaning up the city and other useful work in connection with the relief.

The maintenance of order within the city is under the dual chargé of the United States Marine forces under Colonel Fred L. Bradman and the Nicaraguan National Guard commanded by Brigadier General Calvin Matthews (Lieutenant Colonel United States Marine Corps).

The United States Army engineers under Lieutenant Colonel Dan I. Sultan are engaged in keeping the fire within bounds. They are also assisting in the rehabilitating [of] the water system.

Mr. R. E. Ludwig, local manager of the Central America Power Corporation, is directing efforts to place water in the city mains and to reestablish electric lighting.

The National Guard is in chargé of the distribution of water to the inhabitants still remaining and Mr. George Hepburn, an American engineer, has been designated to supervise this work. Containers of chlorinated water have been placed in convenient places throughout the town for the relief of inhabitants.

Mass feeding of refugees is being conducted by the Marine forces and with Marine Corps supplies augmented by local donations and gifts from other Central American countries. An average of 8,000 persons are being fed daily from kitchens erected in Loma Field. Captain C. A, Phillips, United States Marine Corps, is directing the mass feeding.

The removal and burial of the dead is under the supervision of the National Guard. Approximately 600 bodies have been buried already.

The railroad to Corinto is blocked at Asososca, a point about 6 miles west of Managua, where a landslide occurred in a large cut. Mr. Townsend, manager of the railroad, has a large crew engaged in removing the slide. He hopes to reestablish through communication to Corinto by April 8. Supplies are now being brought from Corinto to Asososca and from there by motor truck to Managua. All refugees are being carried free by railroad.

The Central Committee is coordinating all the above activities as well as the purely Nicaraguan activities. It is being guided by the technical advice and assistance of Mr. Swift, the American Red Cross representative, who is now engaged in a survey of the situation in neighboring cities where refugees have been concentrated and need relief. Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have sent medical, nursing and sanitary commissions which are rendering assistance.

Please repeat to Red Cross.