5.9 earthquake rocks a stunned Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A magnitude 5.9 quake shook Puerto Rico on Saturday, causing millions of dollars of damage along the island’s southern coast, where previous recent quakes have toppled homes and schools.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 8:54 a.m. quake hit 8 miles southeast of Guanica at a shallow depth of 3 miles. It was followed by several aftershocks, including a magnitude 5.2 temblor less than two minutes later.
No injuries or deaths were reported, officials said.
Saturday’s quake occurred four days after a 6.4 magnitude quake in the same area and amid a spate of more than 1,100 mostly small quakes over the past 15 days.
Gov. Wanda Vazquez estimated damage from Tuesday’s earthquake at $110 million, with a total of 559 structures affected. She said her administration was releasing $2 million to six of the most affected municipalities.
As a result of Saturday’s quake, Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority said outages were reported across much of southern Puerto Rico and crews were assessing possible damage at power plants.
Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Ocasio in the southern coastal city of Ponce said officials closed the city’s downtown area and two other nearby areas because of weakened infrastructure.
“One building completely collapsed,” she said. “There is a lot of historic infrastructure in Ponce.”
Barbara Cruz, a prosecutor who was in Ponce when the new quake hit, said concrete debris hit the sidewalk as buildings continued to crumble.
“Everyone is out on the street,” she said.
More landslides and damaged homes were reported, along with severe cracks on a bridge in the southwest coastal town of Guanica.
A crack runs through a bridge along Road 116 after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake Saturday in Guanica, Puerto Rico.