Puerto Rico rocked by 5.5-magnitude earthquake

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded off the waters of southern Puerto Rico early Saturday.
A 5.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded off the waters of southern Puerto Rico early Saturday.

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Puerto Rico rattled residents of the island nation awake Saturday morning, many of whom were left without power.
It struck around 7:20 a.m. local time near the city of Ponce and the towns of Guanica and Guayanilla, a region that has already been hard hit by a spate of earthquakes starting in late 2019, according the U.S. Geological Survey.
Several buildings were damaged in the early-morning quake but no injuries or casualties have been reported.
“Thank God everyone is OK,” Guánica Mayor Santos Seda said. “The infrastructure is already weak.”
Since late last year, a series of earthquakes ranging from 3.4 to 4.9 on the Richter scale have hit the same area.
Seda noted that several residents in the area remained in shelters following the huge 6.4-magnitude temblor that struck in January. It caused millions in damages and killed at least one person.
Reports of damage caused by Saturday’s quake were still trickling in, with at least one second-story balcony toppling in the southern city of Ponce, according to spokeswoman Inés Rivera. Several homes in Guanyanilla were also left cracked in wake of the early morning incident.
Puerto Rico’s southern region additionally faced a series of aftershocks throughout the morning, including a 4.6-magnitude quake.
The nation has been on lock-down since March 16 due to the coronavirus.
"We are assessing damages of today’s 5.5 earthquake in #Ponce while maintaining necessary COVID-19 precautions,” Ponce mayor Mayita Meléndez tweeted. “The health and safety of all Ponceños is our highest priority. As local officials, we carry out our responsibility as first responders to two simultaneous crises.”
Gov. Wanda Vázquez in a tweet urged people to remember security precautions and guidelines related to the virus if they should have to evacuate their homes.
“To our people, stay calm,” Vázquez wrote on Twitter. “We’re ready for any emergency. If your structure is damaged, you should leave with your mask and your emergency backpack.”
The U.S. territory of 3.2 million people has recorded 1,757 coronavirus cases and 95 deaths since the start of the pandemic The island is scheduled to begin its reopening and scaling back of lockdown measures starting on Monday.

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