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6.4 quake strikes Puerto Rico, killing at least 1 amid heavy seismic activity

Published 7 January 2020

Buckie Got It. St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

Jan. 7, 2020, 6:25 AM AST / Updated Jan. 7, 2020, 8:41 AM ASTBy Ben Kesslen and The Associated Press

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing at least one person in the largest in a series of quakes that have struck the U.S. territory in recent days and caused heavy damage in some areas.

A tsunami alert was initially issued for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but later canceled.

The Electric Power Authority reported an island-wide power outage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 4:24 a.m., just south of the island at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers. It initially gave the magnitude as 6.6, and later adjusted the reading

Ponce Mayor Mayita Meléndez told Telemundo that a 77-year-old resident in her city on the island’s southern coast died after a wall collapsed during the quake.

Albert Rodríguez, who is from the southwest town of Guánica, said the tsunami sirens went off before officials canceled the alert. He said there is widespread damage in his neighborhood.

“The road is cracked in the middle and it lifted up,” he said.

A collapsed home after an earthquake in Guanica, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 7, 2020.
A collapsed home after an earthquake in Guanica, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 7, 2020.Reuters TV

Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told The Associated Press that he does not have immediate reports of damage or injuries because communications are down for much of the island. He said officials in the large southern coastal city of Ponce told him there was widespread damage.

“We expect that this will be the largest quake for now,” he said. “The aftershocks will continue for some time.”

Puerto Rico’s governor Wanda Vasqueztold local media and posted to social media that government offices will remain closed due to island-wide power outages. She urged citizens to remain calm and asked public employees to stay home until the government finishes an assessment of the damage and until circumstances are safer. First responders, the governor said, will be working and are reporting to their usual areas.

“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,” Vasquez said in a Tuesday morning statement.

Image: Earthquake damage in Yauco, Puerto Rico on Jan. 7, 2020.
Earthquake damage in Yauco, Puerto Rico on Jan. 7, 2020.Fabian Torres

The Electric Power Authority reported an island-wide power outage, but officials expect to restore power to the island later Tuesday.

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