Soledad Miria

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Coordinates: 9°26′42″N 78°53′59.63″W / 9.44500°N 78.8998972°W / 9.44500; -78.8998972

Soledad Miria after the blaze.

Soledad Miria (in the Kuna language Miria Ubigantupu or more recently Mirya Ubgigandub) is a small Caribbean island of Panama with 1,014 inhabitants. The island is only 700 metres long but is densely populated. At approximately 9:30 pm on December 26, 2006, a fire started by the explosion of a gas cooker destroyed 39 buildings within 10 minutes, approximately half of those on the island. 348 people were injured, but none died.[1] The island was left with no potable water.[2] Many of the inhabitants of the small island took to the sea in fishing boats to avoid the flames.[1]

Soledad Miria is the home of the Kuna Indians, where most of the island speaks Tule. About 10% speak Spanish fluently. The island is very poor, with huts, no floors, two village light bulbs, and no bathroom plumbing. however, the island is not so poor that the people are starving. Most of the Kuna Indians worship small handmade wooden idols. The island has one school, with about 6 classrooms. The school is the only place on the island that has cement floors and walls. Older women in Solded Mira wear the traditional Kuna Indian clothing, while everyone else wears typical, modern clothing. The average family on the island has a few buckets, a hut, maybe two hammocks, a few machetes, and a pig.


  1. ^ a b Thompson, Paul (December 29, 2006). "The island blown up by a gas cooker". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Incendio arrasa con la mitad de isla habitada por indígenas en Panamá (Spanish Language Newspaper)". Retrieved 2006-12-28.