Puerto Rico won’t stop shaking. At 4:24 a.m. local time, a 6.4 earthquake hit five miles southwest of Tallaboa, Puerto Rico, which is just about a 20-minute drive from Ponce. Only three hours later, there was a 6.0 aftershock. Both quakes have caused some structural damage, and so far, at least one person was killed as a result of the earthquake. These latest series of earthquakes come just hours after a 5.8 earthquake hit Guanica, Puerto Rico on Monday morning. However, the island has been riddled with smaller quakes since Dec. 28.
Mayita Meléndez, the Mayor of Ponce, announced on Twitter that a 77-year-old man was killed after this morning’s earthquake. Images out of Puerto Rico show substantial damage to homes, collapsed buildings, and in Guayanilla, a church was completely destroyed. Also in Guayanilla, off the southern coast, a stunning stone arch — an iconic portrait of Puerto Rico called the Punta Ventana or Window Point — collapsed after the 5.8 earthquake.
“This is really sad,” Denniza Colon, a 22-year-old resident of Guayanilla, told the Miami Herald. “It was one of the biggest tourism draws of Guayanilla.”
— Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez 🇵🇷 La Borinqueña (@MrEdgardoNYC) January 7, 2020
CBS News is also reporting that the island’s central power plants have been damaged by the quakes, but maintain they will restore power later today. Also, a bridge in Yauco collapsed. All of this devastation comes just two years after the people of Puerto Rico were left in utter disorder after Hurricane Maria. The severity of the situations left thousands of people dead and the territory in political chaos. It felt as if the island was just catching a break from destruction.
In October 1918, one of the most significant quakes to hit Puerto Rico registered at 7.3. Known as the 1918 San Fermín earthquake, the epicenter was near the island’s northwest coast. As a result of the earthquake, a tsunami ensued and killed 116 people. Last year, the island was hit with a 6.0 earthquake as well.
Wanda Vázquez Garced, Governor of Puerto Rico, tweeted a couple of hours ago, “I hope everybody is fine. The entire government component is activated and in execution. To our people calm, and we urge you to remain safe.”
I'll appreciate any blessings for us here on Puerto Rico 🇵🇷🙏🏻 we just got hit by a 6.5 Earthquake, my first time witnessing this massive shaking and hopefully the last. #PuertoRicoEarthquake
— Chris💥 (@Chrix_WTF) January 7, 2020
Of course, one of the first people to reach out to help was chef José Andrés who was monumental in spearheading aid to Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“[World Central Kitchen] is ready to assist in communities that may be affected in the South….#ChefsForPuertoRico Tsunami alert is Cancel….just spoke to Mayor of Ponce..electricity is down, and Yauco and Guanica have some houses down, a bridge, etc.! Tranquilidad..hopefully, worst is over.”
We hope so too.