Jamaica was jolted by an earthquake registering at a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale, on Monday. Thankfully, no serious injuries or fatalities have been reported as yet.
According to reports from the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), the earthquake began at approximately 10:57 am local time with the epicenter at a depth of 17 kms or 10.56 miles.
Previously, in the month of September, Jamaica experienced an earthquake that registered at a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale. This time though, the earthquake was not just felt in Jamaica but also in Haiti, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Cuba.
There have been reports of damage to some buildings in the nation and schools were closed early in certain areas to ensure the safety of students.
In the corporate areas, employees had to evacuate their buildings and try and find safe zones outside where they waited out the earthquake, huddled together.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness issued a statement regarding the earthquake in which he asked citizens to remain calm as there was no significant damage or loss of life being reported. He also added that there was no reason to panic till the damage assessment is complete.
Jamaica has activated its earthquake protocol and the only major issue being faced due to the earthquake is a series of electrical outages due to damage to powerlines and electrical infrastructure in some regions.
Ironically, Jamaica is quite use to minor earthquakes which happen to be a common occurrence. In fact, the nation experiences 200 such small earthquakes on average, every year.
Conversely, Jamaica rarely experiences strong earthquakes which is why coming up against 2 such events in a short span of time is worrying to some observers.
The last time the region saw serious damage due to an earthquake was during the horrifying Port Royal earthquake in 1692. That event was significant because it led to a portion of the town sinking into the sea.
Another major event in 1907 affected the capital city of Kingston, leading to the death of 1000 people. The next major event occurred in March 1957, mostly affecting Western Jamaica.
Most of this activity is credited to the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone, upon which the island is located. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are also placed in the same region, making them equally vulnerable.