Earthquakes in Puerto Rico Hit Home

By — Sally Bermudez

For the last couple years, Puerto Rico hasn’t been the island that it used to be. The little island in the Caribbean has always had problems with government corruption, high crime rates, and economics, but when Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, these three factors and many more seem to have gotten worse. Hurricane Maria caused devastating consequences that caused many people to lose their houses and left people without power, which in some cases still hasn’t been fixed today. 

“I think that is really messed up, and there needs to be change. Especially because it’s Puerto Rico, I mean this is my homeland we’re talking about,” says Alyssa Cabassa, a Puerto Rican junior at Tuscarora High School. Recently, Puerto Rico has been getting hit with a string of Earthquakes that have left people in south western Puerto Rico homeless and, in some cases, sleeping through the night out on the street so their houses don’t collapse on them if another earthquake happens. 

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The first earthquake hit Puerto Rico on January 7th, 2020, which was registered with a magnitude of 6.4. This first earthquake killed 1 person, and left 3 million without power. A couple hours later, after an aftershock of 6.0 magnitude hit the island, new governor Wanda Vázquez declared a National Emergency in which she ordered all government employees except for first responders to stay home. “It’s a situation that is really complicated and it’s… it’s sad, it’s what it is because it’s the natural process of nature, but at the same time we can’t understand this,” says Luisa Miranda, a Puerto Rican Spanish teacher here at Tuscarora after being asked about her reaction to the earthquakes. 

Unfortunately, even though it’s been a couple weeks since the first earthquake hit, they haven’t seemed to stop. On January 27th, there was an earthquake of 4.0 magnitude that hit Puerto Rico just four miles from Ponce, one of the biggest cities on the island with a population of over 150,000 people. 

These earthquakes haven’t just affected the people on the island, but have also affected Puerto Rican teachers and students here at Tuscarora. “I’m obviously really devastated just because Puerto Rico has gone through so much damage already,” says Cabassa, “I hear stories from my family who lives out there and it’s so sad to listen to, I wish I could help. But I know that love is strong over there and they can overcome it,” after asking Miranda if she thought that the people of Puerto Rico could overcome this hard time, she only had one thing to say. “The people of Puerto Rico are really strong, they’re like a big family. They’re gonna help each other.”