Puerto Rico Struck by 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake
A powerful earthquake rippled across Puerto Rico early Monday morning.
After slowly healing from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rico has been shaken by a new natural disaster. A powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the island on early Monday and aftershocks are still expected. The tremor began at 6:32 a.m. ET near Indios, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. “More earthquakes than usual (called aftershocks) will continue to occur near the main shock,” the USGS said in a statement. “When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater, which means that the chance of damage is greater.”
Carlos Acevedo, Puerto Rico’s Director of Emergency Management, said no major injuries have been reported and no tsunami warning has been issued, but the destruction has been notable, with some homes being damaged in Guánica and a house collapsing in Guayanilla. Photos of homes with cracked walls have also surfaced on social media.
As Puerto Ricans should have been enjoying Día de Los Reyes celebrations, chaos broke out as the ground started to shake and residents were forced out of their homes, with thousands losing electrical power. “Citizens must remain calm and have their action plans prepared to protect themselves,” Governor Wanda Vázquez tweeted.
The coastal town of Guánica opened a shelter for families who lost their residences. “My entire family woke up screaming,” Sindia Alvarado, who lives in Peñuelas, east of Guayanilla, told the Associated Press. “I thought the house was going to crack in half.”
Playa Ventana, a rock formation in Guayanilla famous because it looked like a window in the middle of the ocean, also came crumbling down. “Playa Ventana collapsed,” Glidden López, Guayanilla’s press officer, lamented on Facebook. “Today our icon remains in our memory.”