Are tourists safe in Puerto Rico after major earthquake?

The Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino in Puerto Rico updated eTurboNews about the situation for their guests after the earthquake.

Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency. A devastating earthquake shook the island last night. Electricity is out island wide. There is serious structural damage to some homes and buildings.

Puerto Rico is a major travel and tourism destination. Pictures show total destruction of some buildings. People in Guanica report the earthquakes are worse than Hurricane Maria.

eTurboNews was not able to reach Puerto Rico Tourism. The Puerto Rico Tourism website was initially down and when it came back up no information about the earthquake was given.

None of the extensions and no operators answered the phone at all government offices eTN reached out to, leaving the public in a state of suspense.

eTurboNews also contacted the Global Resilience Center in Jamaica. The center is ready to assist but cannot get ahold of anyone in Puerto Rico.

Casualties are starting to be reported. This is in the town of Guanica in Southern PR. Local TV coverage is non-stop on the impact of the earthquake. Many pictures show total destruction of some buildings.

The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan lost power in the quake and is running on back-up generators. Flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico, are operating as scheduled after the magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the island Tuesday morning.

No information about the situation was given on the airport website, but information about shoe-shine was readily available.

When going to the Puerto Rico Government’s website looking for public affairs, an error was received saying, “Sorry, something went wrong” as the response.

The PR and Communication agency of record for Puerto Rico Tourism also did not respond.

Marine operation is normal.

Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino in San Juan told eTurboNews, the hotel is fully operational and relying on generators.

Most tourist resorts are located in the north of Puerto Rico close to the capital city San Juan. There are no reports of significant damages to the tourism infrastructure.

A FEMA representative not authorized to speak told eTurboNews they do not have a report on the state of tourists on the U.S. territory.

It has become obvious according to local feedback: The facts are that Trump illegally withheld $18 billion in aid to Puerto Rico after the hurricane, but has no problem spending 2 TRILLION on military equipment. Now is the time to release the illegally withheld money.

Situation about tourists in Puerto Rico uncertain after major earthquake

Background on then earthquake according to USGS

On January 7, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the region at 4:24 am local time (08:24:26 UTC). Significant damage was possible. Over the past several weeks, hundreds of small earthquakes have occurred in the Puerto Rico region, beginning in earnest with a M 4.7 earthquake late on December 28 and a M 5.0 event a few hours later.

The magnitude 6.4 earthquake was widely felt. According to ShakeMap, strong to very strong shaking occurred across parts of Southern Puerto Rico closest to the event, and moderate shaking occurred across the rest of the island. The NOAA Tsunami Warning System states no tsunami warning or advisory. The USGS summary page on this earthquake includes an aftershock forecast. Aftershocks will continue near the main shock.

Since the M 4.7 event, over 400 M 2+ earthquakes have occurred in this region, ten of which were M 4+, including today’s M 6.4 event and yesterday’s 5.8 quakes. The preliminary location of today’s 6.4 earthquake is within about 7.5 miles (12 km) of the January 6, 2020, M 5.8 earthquake. The proximity of these events to Puerto Rico, and their shallow depth, means that dozens of these events have been felt on land, although with the exception of the latest 2 earthquakes, the M 6.4 and the M 5.8, none are likely to have caused significant damage.

The January 6 and 7, 2020, M 5.8 and M 6.4 earthquakes offshore of southwest Puerto Rico occurred as the result of oblique strike slip faulting at a shallow depth. At the location of this event, the North America plate converges with the Caribbean plate at a rate of about 20 mm/yr towards the west-southwest. The location and style of faulting for the event is consistent with an intraplate tectonic setting within the upper crust of the Caribbean plate, rather than on the plate boundary between the two plates.

Tectonics in Puerto Rico are dominated by the convergence between the North America and Caribbean plates, with the island being squeezed between the 2. To the north of Puerto Rico, North America subducts beneath the Caribbean plate along the Puerto Rico trench. To the south of the island, and south of today’s earthquake, Caribbean plate upper crust subducts beneath Puerto Rico at the Muertos Trough. The January 6 earthquake, and other recent nearby events, are occurring in the offshore deformation zone bound by the Punta Montalva Fault on land and the Guayanilla Canyon offshore.