Caribbean Warned As 6.4 Magnitude Quake Hits Puerto Rico

— At Least One Killed… Triggering State of Emergency

One of the collapsed homes following this morning’s earthquake. (Credit: Reuters TV)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Tuesday January 7, 2020 – At least one person is said to have been killed when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico this morning, following a 5.8 magnitude quake yesterday.

And the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago says the region must be prepared.

The 6.4 quake struck at 4:24 a.m., with its centre located about 8 km south of the southern town of Indios, and was followed by several aftershocks, including two of magnitude 5.6.         

Power outages and damage have been reported, including in the city of Ponce, where 73-year-old Nelson Martínez was killed when an inner wall that was under construction in his house collapsed. There has been structural damage to roads and bridges, especially in the southwestern part of the island.

Governor Wanda Vázquez told a press conference this morning that she has signed an order to declare an islandwide state of emergency.

“We’ve never been exposed to this kind of emergency in 102 years,” she said, even as she urged residents to stay calm.

Government offices and schools were closed, as well as some hospitals in the island’s southwestern region.

Vázquez asked public employees to stay home while authorities assess the damages.

“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,” she said.

Experts say yesterday’s tremor in the US Caribbean territory was a “foreshock” to this morning’s quake. The biggest earthquake in an earthquake sequence is called the mainshock. Mainshocks are followed by lots of smaller earthquakes called aftershocks. Occasionally an earthquake will be followed by a larger event, in which case the first earthquake is called a “foreshock” and the new, larger event a “mainshock”.

While yesterday’s quake caused damage to houses, no major injuries had been reported.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) says hundreds of small earthquakes have hit the island since December 28, including at least 29 over magnitude 4.0.

And on its Facebook page this morning, the SRC said “the recent earthquakes around Puerto Rico serves as a reminder that our region is seismically active and we always need to be prepared”.

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  • Janice  On 01/08/2020 at 6:40 am

    How can anyone prepare for an earthquake???

  • Clyde Duncan  On 01/10/2020 at 12:08 am


    John Pavlovitz | Stuff That Needs To Be Said

    I used to think I was a Christian.

    I was raised in a Christian home and went to a Christian school. After a few meandering spiritual wilderness years I attended a Christian seminary, became a Christian pastor, and have served in Christian churches for most of the past twenty-five years of my life.

    I have read and studied and preached the Scriptures extensively, led community Bible studies and student retreats and overseas mission trips, ministered in tiny rural chapels and massive gleaming megachurches.

    As a result of these decades immersed in the Christian tradition both personally and vocationally, I thought I had at least the gist of Jesus.

    Now I think maybe I’ve been doing this wrong all these years.

    For my entire life I assumed something that perhaps I shouldn’t have:

    I thought Christians were supposed to care about people.

    Not necessarily agree with them or believe what they believe or even like them — but see them each as specific and unique image-bearers of the divine, to want and to work for Shalom for them:


    I grew up believing that one of the markers of a life emulating Jesus, was a heart capable of being broken at the distress of other human beings around you [Puerto Rico comes to mind]:

    When they are hungry and hurting; When they are homeless and afraid; When they grieve and feel alone; When they believe they are unloved and forgotten; When tragedy befalls them and When injustice assails them. These things are supposed to move the needle within us if Jesus is present.


    I never once see a Jesus brandishing a “Don’t Tread On Me” bravado in the face of dire need.

    I do not see him lecturing the poor and the afflicted to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

    I do not see him inviting war or celebrating bloodshed or reveling in loss of life for any reason.

    I do not see him trolling those who express sadness or worry or struggle.

    I do not see Jesus tossing off a defiant middle-finger contempt for those who came seeking refuge in him.

    I do not see arrogance that inflates his worth at the expense of someone else’s.

    Which is why I simply can’t fathom Christians who are cruel, and yet I see so many of them right now.

    I watch them preaching and lecturing and hashtagging and boasting about winning, and I want to ask them, “But do you care about people?”

    I am not talking about the beliefs they profess or the policies they support or the values they claim to hold, but the manner in which they treat other human beings in the process:

    How they love or do not love their neighbor — and I see countless proudly unloving people claiming to be Christians, and it is baffling.

    If you profess to be a follower of Jesus, I’m not concerned with your politics and I don’t care about your doctrine. I’m not interested in the Scriptures you can recite or the prayers you utter out loud.

    Show me a working theology of empathy. Show me that you actually give a damn about people:

    NOT just Republican people or American people or Christian people or white people — but the disparate parade of human beings in every way you encounter them, in every condition they arrive, with whatever backstory they’ve lived through.

    If you tell me you’re a Christian, be someone who, like Jesus — looks at the crowds and has a compassion for them that propels them into proximity with their pain.

    Because if you aren’t deeply burdened to live from a place of expansive, sacrificial, selfless love toward your neighbor, NOT moved to alleviate anguish or reduce suffering, NOT compelled to leave people better than you found them — honestly I’m not sure what the point of calling yourself a Christian is.

    That is what all my reading and prayer and ministering and living as a Christian have yielded: Following Jesus should leave me more compassionate, NOT LESS. It is really that simple.

    As far as a I can see, it is ridiculous to say I care about Jesus while not caring for the people placed in my path. I am called to live the greatest commandment, not to make any single nation “great”.

    I think most people walking the planet understand this, whether they’re Christians or not.

    They too get the gist of Jesus, and they see there is no bullying or malice or violence there.

    They recognize the disconnect between love and enmity when it shows up in the neighborhoods and on the timelines and in their living rooms — AND THEY SMELL PUTRID STENCH OF HYPOCRISY A MILE AWAY.

    I believe in a God of abundance. I can’t comprehend a Christianity that sees others as in competition with me for jobs or healthcare or a home, because an infinite maker has infinite resources — and because I am supposedly trying to emulate a Jesus who was the greatest expression of that abundance.

    So maybe I am wrong and maybe I need to regroup on this whole Christianity thing.

    I thought we’re supposed to care about people.


  • Clyde Duncan  On 01/10/2020 at 1:01 am

    Starr wrote: Exactly!

    Neither Trump nor any of the so-called Evangelical Christians surrounding him fit the definition, in my opinion.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 01/10/2020 at 6:46 am

    How to prepare for earthquakes?

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