State of emergency declared in Puerto Rico after 6.4 magnitude earthquake kills 1 – National News


TexPhoto/iStock(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Puerto Rico in the early hours of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency throughout the island Tuesday as well as an order that activated the National Guard.

The quake hit close to the town of Tallaboa on the island’s south coast at 4:24 a.m. local time (03:24a.m EST) at a depth of 10 kilometers, USGS said.

The earthquake’s magnitude was initially reported as 6.6 but was revised down first to 6.5, then 6.4.

At least one person is known to have died in the quake.

The Electric Power Authority reported an island-wide power outage, saying on Twitter that power plants had activated their protection mechanisms and gone out of service.

Authorities said damage had been reported at the Costa Sur power station, and they were evaluating the power infrastructure and urged residents to remain calm. The Electric Power Authority said it hoped it would be able to bring the power back online later Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting overflight assessments to identify any potential signs of pollution in the water or damage to the port infrastructure and navigable waterways.

All ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands remain open until further notice, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a news release.

Videos posted on social media showed damage to buildings, including a church in the town of Guayanilla with a steeple that collapsed.

Vázquez announced on Twitter that public sector institutions would be closed for the day so workers “can be with their families, implementing their emergency plans.”

In addition to the magnitude 6.5 quake, at least seven other earthquakes were recorded by the USGS as striking Puerto Rico in the early hours of Tuesday. Some of the subsequent quakes measured up to magnitude 5.6.

There is currently no tsunami warning in effect, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

The quake comes one day after a 5.8 quake hit the U.S. territory’s southern region, which has seen a string of quakes in recent days.

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