Soldiers evict people from Nicaragua quake ruins
Managua (AFP) April 30, 2011
Soldiers evicted hundreds of Nicaraguans on Saturday from buildings damaged in a 1972 earthquake, as part of a government plan to demolish the decaying structures.
Families will be relocated to homes in a neighborhood near Lake Managua, also known as Lake Xolotlan, north of the capital, Lieutenant Colonel Mauricio Contreras told AFP.
It was the second eviction this month from the half-dozen buildings left standing after the December 23, 1972 earthquake that killed 5,000 people and left more than a quarter-million people homeless.
The area has become a haven for criminal gangs, drug addicts and prostitutes, said Jairo Vazquez, who lived for 30 years with his family in one of the damaged buildings.
In the quake's aftermath, cleanup crews dumped debris from crumbled buildings into Lake Xolotlan.
Last year, the government began pulling the debris out of the lake in a massive cleanup effort, which attracted scrap metal sellers looking to turn their findings into quick cash.
Nicaragua is the Western Hemisphere's second poorest country after Haiti, with an underemployment rate hovering around 50 percent.
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