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La Madera, Nicaragua
Wilfried Strauch of the Department of Geophysics at the Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales reported a destructive lahar on La Madera Volcano in Nicaragua. The lahar destroyed the village of El Corozal and killed six people. Thirty six houses were destroyed and crops are heavily affected. At least 1,600 persons were affected by the disaster and many of them are now living in local school houses.
The lahar may have been triggered by heavy rainfalls. Two local policemen climbed the volcano and reported that they had observed a little crater at the starting point of the lahar. They presume that a little volcanic explosion could have triggered the event. This observation has not been confirmed by Nicaraguan volcanologists. A farmer living nearby reported that he had heard a strange thunder, minutes before the lahar came down.
Dr. Wilfried Strauch noted "Due to the island situation the volcanic hazard on Ometepe is of special nature. Any operation for rescue or evacuation of endangered people as well as volcano monitoring are much more difficult than in the other volcanic areas in Nicaragua."
As of October 17, 1996, the situation at La Madera and Concepcion Volcanoes remains critical. Unusually high rainfall in the last few days has intensified the concern about destructive lahars. A small lahar was noted on October 16. About 250 people displaced by the September 27 lahar continue to live under difficult conditions at the local schoolhouse.
La Madera and Concepcion Volcanoes form Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. Concepcion is an active volcano. La Madera has not erupted in historical times.