News Alerts

07 Jan 2020 | 07:14 PM UTC

US: Puerto Rico Governor Vasquez declares state of emergency January 7 /update 3

Puerto Rico News Alert

Puerto Rico Governor Vasquez declares state of emergency following series of earthquakes January 7; significant power outages and infrastructure damage reported

TIMEFRAME expected from 1/7/2020, 12:00 AM until 1/9/2020, 11:59 PM (America/Puerto_Rico). COUNTRY/REGION Puerto Rico

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Event

On Tuesday, January 7, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vasquez declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard following a series of recent earthquakes. Between Monday, January 6, and Tuesday, Puerto Rico was struck by approximately 8 earthquakes, one of which was a magnitude 6.4 - the strongest to hit the island in over 100 years. As of Tuesday afternoon (local time), more than 300,000 people are without power and water. Significant infrastructure damage has been reported. At least 346 have been left homeless as a result of the tremors and one person was reportedly killed by a falling wall.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center recorded a small tsunami of approximately 20 cm (7.9 in) earlier on Tuesday. No tsunami warning is currently in effect.

Power and commercial disruptions are expected in the coming hours and days. Further aftershocks are likely to continue over the near term.

Context

Several aftershocks ranging in magnitudes of 2.0 to 6.5 have struck off the southern coast of Puerto Rico following an initial 5.7-magnitude earthquake on Monday, January 6.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded a 5.7-magnitude earthquake around 13 km (8 mi) south-southwest of Indios (Guayanilla) on January 6. The quake hit at around 06:32 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi). On Tuesday, January 7, the USGS recorded a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island's southern coast. The quake struck at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi) at 04:24. This is the islands largest recorded earthquake since a 7.3-magnitude quake and accompanying tsunami struck Puerto Rico in 1918, killing 116 people. 

Advice

Individuals in Puerto Rico are advised to monitor the situation and prepare for potential aftershocks.

In the event of aftershocks, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), move away from the windows, and not attempt to leave a building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.

 

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