January 09, 2020
/ Miami, Florida, United States
/ Libna Stevens/IAD
Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Puerto Rico are still baffled by a series of earthquakes which began yesterday, and culminated with a 6.4 magnitude tremor early this on January 7. The earthquakes have hit the southern parts of island the hardest, mainly in Guayanilla and Guánica, killing one person and injuring a dozen others, and causing power outages. There have been no deaths reported among church members.
“We have never as a country dealt with such earthquake in all my years,” said Jose A. Rodríguez, president of the church in Puerto Rico.
“At 4:24 a.m. I woke up to the house shaking, and then one aftershock then another. Sometimes it’s like 10 tremors a day, so there’s so much uncertainty for all of us here in Puerto Rico,” said Rodríguez, who lives in western part of the island. Even though the earthquakes have been strongest in the south, the entire island has felt each tremor, said Rodriguez.
“There is so much uncertainty now, bridges are down, roads have collapsed, power hasn’t been restored and many are taking refuge in parks and arenas,” he said.
So far, six members’ homes have been destroyed and local church leaders at the South Puerto Rico Conference are gathering information on the emergency needs of the members.
Classes at the three Adventist schools in the South Puerto Rico Conference have been suspended until next week, pending an assessment by engineers. Classes will not resume until those school facilities are declared safe to occupy, said Rodriguez. No major damage to churches or Adventist school facilities in other parts of the island has been reported.