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New York

Thu, 23 Jan 2020 04:30 GMT

Post-quake Blackouts Force Puerto Ricans to Sleep Outdoors


7Dnews London

Thu, 09 Jan 2020 11:04 GMT

A huge power outage on Wednesday January 9th affected more than half of Puerto Rico's 3 million people as thousands slept outdoors after earthquakes toppled homes and raised fears more could collapse, according to Reuters.

A state of emergency was declared on Tuesday after a series of quakes and tremors, including the most powerful one to strike the Caribbean island in 102 years, killed at least one person and damaged about 300 homes.

Dozens of homes collapsed in the south of the island which was hardest hit during a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and 5.6 aftershock.

Thousands slept outdoors or in their cars, fearing that their homes might collapse in the event of another major event as more tremors continued to shake the island on Wednesday.

"Horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, everything fell on top of us," said Josefina Pacheco. "It's really hard to see so many houses around you on the ground."

The island's electricity authority said the power was not expected to be restored to the whole island until the weekend as the quake had forced an automatic shutdown of the power grid, already severely damaged by Hurricane Maria more than two years ago, according to AFP.

More than 500 tremors occurred in the south of the island between December 28th and Tuesday, including 32 greater than magnitude 4.

Puerto Rico is accustomed to hurricanes, but powerful quakes are rare. The 6.4 magnitude quake on Tuesday morning was the most powerful to hit Puerto Rico since 1918, when a 7.3 magnitude quake and tsunami killed 116 people, according to the Puerto Rican seismology institute, Red Sismica.

Latin America