Puerto Rico faced Saturday morning (7:15 AM approximately), another 5.4-5.5 earthquake hit the Island, this time at 6 miles from the southern city of Ponce. Thirteen replicas occurred within 3 hours after the first tremor, with 2 of them been over 4.5. So far, the information is that the towns of Peñuelas, Guayanilla, and Ponce were the most affected. Some historical sites, as the Ponce Catholic Cathedral and the “Museo de la Masacre de Ponce” (the Ponce Massacre Museum), were deeply affected by the earthquake. See one of the news reports here: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/495808-puerto-rico-records-54-earthquake
Both of our Partners, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico and the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico (IEUPR), have congregations and church members in the area. I talked to both General Pastors, and even though they both reported that there had been no casualties related to both denominations, they are in the process of assessment of damages to temples and communities. Rev. Edward Rivera, IEUPR´s General Pastor, reported on efforts from the congregations in the southern part of the Island to provide hygiene and first aid kits to homeless people near the city of Ponce.
This earthquake is the third natural disaster that strikes the Island in three years. In September 2017, Puerto Rico suffered the passing of Hurricane María, leaving a toll of more than 4,000 dead and thousands of people with no electricity and water services for months. Last January, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and replicas left dozens of people homeless and some other hundreds with their houses severely affected by the tremors. Those disasters occurred within more than a decade of economic recession and denouncements of corruption and failed public policies from Federal entities as well as the Puerto Rican government. The consequences of those combined circumstances have been brutal to the most vulnerable and weak on the island.
Let´s keep Puerto Rico in our prayers as we continue working in solidarity and accompaniment through difficult times there.