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Help for Puerto Rico Following the Earthquakes

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina's picture

[Updated January 29, 2020, 4:30PM ET]

Since December 28, 2019, Puerto Rico has been rocked by a seismic sequence (i.e., a string of tremors and earthquakes), including a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on January 7th, 2020, the strongest in over a century. This has been followed by thousands of aftershocks concentrated in Puerto Rico's southern region, on or near the Punta Montalva Fault, with dozens of earthquakes between magnitudes 4.5 and 6.0. 

The earthquakes have resulted in one direct death, and the loss or damage to civilian, business, and public structures affecting ~700,000 people in south-central Puerto Rico. After the January 7th earthquake there was an archipelago-wide blackout, and water and communication services were also affected. Economic losses are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars

As of Saturday, January 11, there are more than 6,000 refugees in formal and informal camps. Many more are sleeping outside in open air, tents or their cars, too afraid to sleep inside. Several schools have collapsed or sustained severe damage. The Department of Education has delayed the beginning of classes until schools are inspected and certified to be safe. By the week of January 27, only 20% of schools in Puerto Rico have re-opened and there are no plans to account for the hundreds of thousands of teachers and students who could not return to school because of the ongoing quakes or because their schools have not passed safety inspections.

Understandably, people throughout Puerto Rico, but particularly in the south, are scared and anxious. The earthquakes are resurfacing the trauma of Hurricane Maria, from which Puerto Rico has not fully recovered.   

Just like we did after Hurricane Maria in 2017, the CienciaPR community is mobilizing to help and support Puerto Rico. We have created a list of ways in which you can support the communities and students in Puerto Rico. All our links and pages are being constantly updated.



In collaboration with the Caribbean Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, we have created a survey to understand the needs of scientists and students in Puerto Rico who have been affected by the recent tremors and to be able to facilitate aid within and outside of Puerto Rico. Help us by sharing it with your colleagues:​



If you are aware of any resources or events, or are organizing an event and would like us to amplify the information and give it more visibility, you can:

Although CienciaPR is not able to provide on-the-ground relief, we have a long history working to help support science education, training, and research in Puerto Rico and will be focused on applying the scientific community’s knowledge and talents to Puerto Rico’s long-term reconstruction and to science and education. Donations would be greatly appreciated and would help us advance towards those goals. Please note, we are a non-profit entity registered in Puerto Rico but we have not received 501c3 designation yet. If you would like more information, please contact us.