Posted February 24th 2011 at 9:25 am by
in Photo Journals, Sebastiao's Photo Journal

Managua: A City Without a Downtown

Managua: A City Without a Downtown

Click here to see the photo at full size.

At midnight on December 22,1972, three superficial earthquakes hit Managua, the Capital City of Nicaragua, killing 5,000 people and generating widespread damage to the city. The destructive impact of the earthquake was expanded by the liquefaction of the soil. Two thirds of the 1,000,000 inhabitants of Managua were displaced and the downtown area was almost completely devastated. Most of the international aid sent to Nicaragua was plundered by the president/dictator Anastacio Somoza, causing profound frustration and social unrest.

A small number of buildings and the city Cathedral resisted the earthquake, but the downtown was never rebuilt. Forty years later, a new commercial area emerged in the southern periphery, but the inhabitants of Managua lost their traditional downtown.  This picture shows the former downtown, mostly covered by trees, with the ruins of the Cathedral a few government buildings and occasional one-floor houses. Behind the city is the lake Xolotlan, a former crater of an immense volcano.

I am in Managua exploring five-year scenarios for Nicaragua, and each scenario’s potential impacts on the economy of low-income sectors in the country, as well as on the microfinance activity. I have been a consultant on many projects like this one in South and Central America.

Photo and post by Sebastiao Ferreira. This post is number 7 of 52 in Sebastiao’s 52-week photo journal.

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