Puerto Ricans flee island after earthquakes

"Up until today, the ground has been shaking." Puerto Rican families have no choice but to flee their homes as earthquakes continue.

No choice but to flee

“Our lives completely, have completely changed since December 28, and up until today the ground has been shaking.”

“We don’t have any idea of when we’re going to go back to Puerto Rico because once again, our homes are located in the area where the strongest earthquakes of the island are.”

2,500 earthquakes in Puerto Rico
More than 2,500 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico’s southern region since December 28, 2019. And Puerto Ricans are uncertain about their future as more activity is being predicted.

Why are there so many earthquakes in Puerto Rico?
“At about three times the size of Rhode Island, Puerto Rico is squeezed between the border of the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates…The Puerto Rico Trench, north of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, is an undersea fault zone. The North American plate is sliding under the Caribbean plate there, creating the potential for earthquakes and undersea landslides that can set off tsunamis.”, The New York Times reports.

Some Puerto Rican families have decided to flee the island
Hernán, Sharon, and Felipe are staying at their relative’s in Harlem within New York City.
They live in the southern region of the island, the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that hit the island on January 7 forced them to leave. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have slept outside or in shelters, fearing new tremors.

The earthquakes have caused loss of power, loss of water, damaged homes, millions of dollars in property damage. And many Puerto Ricans are dealing with PTSD.

Call to action
On January 23, Puerto Ricans took to the streets over unused emergency aid, some of which dated to when Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. Different states have sent emergency crew members to help with earthquake recovery. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the deployment of state building inspectors and mental health professionals to assist Puerto Ricans. “They need significant help to go back and actually inspect all these homes so you can give the homeowner comfort that your home has been inspected, it’s safe.
Even if you do that, there’s still the question of, “is there going to be another earthquake that actually damages that home that hasn’t been damaged. So, that’s a significant issue.”, Governor Cuomo reveals.