Puerto Rican Earthquake Causes Blackout

The island and U.S. territory was hit at 4:24 EST.

Puerto Rico

By David Kamioner | January 7, 2020

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that Puerto Rico experienced a 6.4 magnitude earthquake early Tuesday morning. At least one person was killed, others injured, and the island is under blackout conditions. The epicenter was near the city of Ponce.

A 6.0 aftershock hit the area at 7:18 EST this morning. An earlier quake registering 5.8 struck on Monday.

Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced has stated from her office that emergency services are on the scene, are surveying damage, and are rendering necessary aid and assistance.

The blackout was intentional and due to a protective system designed into power plants on the island. It is estimated power will be restored sometime later on Tuesday.

Victor Huerfano, the director of the Puerto Rican seismic network, told the Associated Press that the quakes are occurring along three faults in the southwest area of the island: the Lajas Valley, Montalva Point, and the Guayanilla Canyon.

With the onset of this spate of earthquakes, island emergency response teams have been stretched thin. Because of this Governor Garced will closely be watching the situation. More than one elected official has been pilloried for their response to a natural disaster.

President George W. Bush was harshly criticized for what seemed like his nonchalant response (“Heck of a job, Brownie”) to the complete breakdown of state administrative services during the initial phases of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort in September of 2005. Michael Brown was the FEMA director during the crisis and by most estimates did not fare well under the pressure of the event.

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and there was a controversy between President Trump and then San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz over the speed and effectiveness of the federal recovery effort. Responding to the criticism, the president told ABC News that, “Puerto Rico is very important to me, and Puerto Rico—the people are fantastic people. I grew up in New York, so I know many people from Puerto Rico. I know many Puerto Ricans. And these are great people, and we have to help them. The island is devastated.”

With that in mind, the response to this natural disaster should be thorough and efficient.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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