In just the first two weeks of 2020, more than 668 earthquakes above a 2.5 magnitude rattled the island of Puerto Rico, tallying to almost half the total M2.5+ earthquakes that have occurred worldwide so far. Puerto Ricans are currently in a state of panic, having not yet recovered from the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Maria that devastated the entirety of the island and killed 3,000 people in September 2017.
The current series of tremors include Puerto Rico’s most destructive earthquake in a century – a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on January 7, 2020, that left one dead and nine injured. Just a day before, a 5.8 earthquake shook the region with multiple aftershocks including one with a 5.9 magnitude, which caused further damage. Home to three million residents, thousands of families have fled their homes due to concerns that the structures may collapse during an aftershock. Public spaces such as a baseball stadium in Guayanilla, public parks and schools across town are set up with large tents to provide shelter for the affected.
The government have stated that the cost of damage has totaled to an estimated $110 million with the destruction of up to 550 homes, schools, and historical landmarks being major contributing factors. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority officials have also revealed over 59,000 customers remain without power. In light of the tragic incident, Airbnb’s Open Homes program is offering free accommodation between January 9 to January 31, 2020, to those on the island that have been displaced or are helping with relief efforts.