[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.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Donate money and/or materials to support Puerto Rico-based organizations helping impacted communities
- Volunteer to help affected communities
- Get your institution involved in supporting Puerto Rico
- Share or create educational and informational resources about earthquakes
- Fill out or share these surveys and needs assessments from several local organizations and institutions
- Stay informed and share reliable and scientific sources of information to prevent the spread of false news
- Share information about aid and service providers
SURVEY FOR SCIENTISTS
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: http://bit.ly/AyudaTerremotos_Cientificos
RELEVANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PUERTO RICO EARTHQUAKES
- The Puerto Rico Seismic Network is the premier source of information about earthquakes in Puerto Rico. You can visit the website to keep track of the latest seismic activity, to access coastal evacuation maps, for information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, for educational resources and much more.
- If you are in Puerto Rico and you feel anxious or overwhelmed after the earthquake or for any other reason, call the PAS line at 1-800-981-0023 or 1-888-672-7622 for hearing impaired. You can also call the National Disaster Line at 1-800-985-5990 and press "2" for Spanish. Help available 24/7.
- US Geological Survey’s Puerto Rico Earthquakes page (being updated regularly).
- List of available shelters (as of January 11, 2020 per El Nuevo Día; in Spanish).
- AirBnB’s Open Homes program is providing emergency housing in Puerto Rico. People can find or offer free housing here.
- A group of Puerto Rican structural engineers are organizing to travel to Puerto Rico to provide free building inspections in the most affected regions. If you are in need of a building inspection, sign up HERE.
- Here's a list of aid and service providers
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:
- Email us at email@example.com
- Send us a message on Facebook
- Tag us @CienciaPR on Twitter
- Add relevant links and information to this public spreadsheet
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.