Puerto Rico suffered on Tuesday the worst earthquake in its recent history, an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 that resulted in a death, dozens of collapsed homes and a blackout that has left the entire Caribbean island without electricity.
The quake literally woke up at about 4.30 a.m. (8.30 GMT) to Puerto Ricans, who in particular in the southwest area suffered an earthquake with a force unknown to the vast majority of the population.
Although the buildings shook in the geography of the entire Caribbean territory, it was the southwest that took the worst part, with dozens of partially collapsed homes, a collapsed school and a church that collapsed.
The island was immediately dark when the electricity infrastructure collapsed, which has the main generation plants in the southern area of Puerto Rico.
The executive director of the Electric Power Authority (AEE), José Ortiz, said at first that the service would be mostly recovered at noon, but later clarified that due to the damage caused to the generating plants the system will not recover until, Probably, in several days.
The population in the southern municipalities is still on the streets due to the lack of electric fluid.
The island governor, Wanda Vázquez, informed in a press conference that public agencies are prepared to respond to an event of this nature.
He also said he has the full support of the US authorities, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).
The interim administrator of Fema, Pete Gaynor, confirmed that he maintained constant communication with the governor of Puerto Rico throughout the day.
“Fema remains firm in its commitment to support the Government of Puerto Rico in its recovery efforts after hurricanes Irma and María and help people before, during and after disasters,” he said.
The representative of Puerto Rico before the Congress in Washington, Jenniffer González, asked, along with Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, in a letter addressed to US President Donald Trump, to ratify the request of the local executive statement of disaster for the island.
The letter emphasizes that the affected municipalities do not have the resources to deal with the situation and that Puerto Rican agencies have limits because they are subject to a federal control entity.
The National Guard of Puerto Rico has already begun to support the Caribbean island after having been activated by order of the governor after the series of earthquakes that occurred in the southern area of the island during the past few days and that today had its peak with an earthquake of magnitude 6.4.
“The National Guard of Puerto Rico has begun to respond to the call of our people supporting the State Agency for Emergency Management and Disaster Management at this time,” said the general assistant of Puerto Rico, general of Division José Kings.
Artists like Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee had words of encouragement for their countrymen after the earthquake.
Fonsi turned to his account on the social network of twitter to ask for a prayer for the Caribbean island, which suffered the effects of one of the largest tremors recorded in its recent history.
“Daddy God protects the island. He trembles again stronger than yesterday. Many sectors are without electricity. Another test! Force my people, stay prepared and united,” said the singer.
His companion Daddy Yankee turned to Instagram to show a graphic about the American Red Cross emergency backpack as advice for his countrymen.
The only death recognized so far is that of a 73-year-old man who died when he was crushed by a wall of his residence in the southwest of the island.
As for the material damage, the earthquake caused the collapse of the historic Immaculate Conception parish, built in 1841, in Guayanilla, a municipality in the south of the island.
Regarding schools, a center collapsed in Guánica, the Agripina Seda, which saw the first two of its floors collapsed.
The municipality of Ponce was declared a state of emergency due to the damage caused to seven homes.
Meanwhile, 15 homes partially collapsed in Yauco and seven residences in Juana Día and the Plaza Juana Díaz shopping center suffered some kind of damage.
In Puerto Rico there are about 200,000 homes built without the corresponding permits, in addition to another 150,000 built on fine columns that in some cases did not withstand today’s tremor.