Protests broke out in Puerto Rico on Monday, January 20, due to a judicial investigation regarding unused emergency supplies leftover from Hurricane Maria in 2017. The rising tensions emerge as over 1000 earthquakes have hit the island, leaving an estimated 5000 people living in tents. The protests came after a resident shared a video of unused supplies that were sitting in a storage facility since 2017, some of it now expired. Protesters called for Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced's resignation, who fired some government employees as a result of the investigation.
Protests are expected to continue in San Juan and other urban centers across Puerto Rico.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded a 5.7-magnitude earthquake around 13 km (8 mi) south-southwest of Indios (Guayanilla) on January 6 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi). On Tuesday, the USGS recorded a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island's southern coast at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi). This is the islands largest recorded earthquake since a 7.3-magnitude quake and accompanying tsunami struck Puerto Rico in 1918, killing 116 people. Several aftershocks ranging in magnitudes of 2.0 to 6.5 struck off the southern coast of Puerto Rico. On January 7, Puerto Rico's Governor Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. Recovery efforts are ongoing across the island following significant infrastructural damage.
Individuals in San Juan and Puerto Rico more generally are advised to avoid all protests as a precaution, monitor the situation, allow ample travel time, and obey instructions issued by local authorities.
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