Earthquake Jolts Region as Puerto Rico Continues to Feel Aftershocks

written by BVC January 22, 2020

At least one person is said to have been killed when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Jan. 7th, following a 5.8 magnitude quake the day before. And the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago says the region must be prepared.

The 6.4 quake struck at 4:24 a.m., with its centre located about 8 km south of the southern town of Indios, and was followed by several aftershocks, including two of magnitude 5.6. Power outages and damage have been reported, including in the city of Ponce, where 73-year-old Nelson Martínez was killed when an inner wall that was under construction in his house collapsed. There has been structural damage to roads and bridges, especially in the southwestern part of the island.

Governor Wanda Vázquez has signed an order to declare an islandwide state of emergency. “We’ve never been exposed to this kind of emergency in 102 years,” she said, even as she urged residents to stay calm. Government offices and schools were closed, as well as some hospitals in the island’s southwestern region. Vázquez asked public employees to stay home while authorities assess the damages. “Citizen security is a priority, so vulnerable areas are being inspected and all necessary measures will be taken to ensure the safety of all Puerto Ricans,” she said.

As regional experts and disaster officials continue to urge the region to be prepared on the heels of strong earthquakes in Puerto Rico, a 5.2 magnitude tremor struck off Dominica on Jan 8th. The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus in Trinidad reported that the tremor was recorded at 10:01 a.m.

Its centre was located 23 km southeast of Dominica’s capital, Roseau; 66 km north-northwest of Fort-de-France, Martinique; and 124 km south-southeast of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The tremor was recorded as Puerto Rico continued to feel the aftershocks of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the US Caribbean territory with damage to buildings, roads and bridges, and knocked out power and water services in some areas. On the heels of that large tremor, the SRC had said that the seismic activity around Puerto Rico was a reminder that the region is seismically active and residents must therefore always need to be prepared.

In an information note issued, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) also urged countries to continue to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico, and said it would do the same.

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