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Local Puerto Ricans afraid for family on the island as hundreds of aftershocks continue

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Magnitude 5.9 aftershock hits Puerto Rico

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA) - Hundreds of earthquakes and aftershocks have shaken Puerto Rico since the new year.

The Puerto Rican government estimates the quakes have caused $110-million in damages and have destroyed over 500 structures, killing at least one person.

Lourdes and Luis Marquez have lived in Yuma for 24 years, while all of their family lives in Puerto Rico.

Luis lived in Puerto Rico for 36-years and only felt 3 or 4 earthquakes.

He said none came close to what the island is currently experiencing.

Every day, Lourdes and Luis sit anxiously waiting for the 3 pm news update from Puerto Rico's local station.

Meanwhile, they restlessly track the location, mileage, and depth of aftershocks.

Both of their families live in the northwest part of Puerto Rico, close to where hundreds of earthquakes have shaken the small island this month.

“They’re scared to death because they feel their house completely shaking. They’re afraid to go to sleep. During the night they don’t sleep in their rooms anymore,” said Luis.

Forceful temblors knocked out most of the island’s power supply.

Now Lourdes fears for her 73-year-old mother suffering from diabetes.

Lourdes said, “[My mother] has her insulin in her house. She lost power and doesn’t have a generator for that. People try to help her with a little ice chest to put her medicine in there. All of her food is gone. It's damaged”

The island, still recovering from the wrath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, is facing its strongest earthquake since 1918.

Luis says the U.S. government is not doing enough to help.

He believes Puerto Ricans are treated as a second class citizen.

While it may be tough for the couple to stay grounded as their families’ world shakes, through it all, they have faith in their island’s resilience.

“We can go down, but when we come back, we come back stronger. That's how Puerto Ricans are,” Lourdes said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there's an 8% chance of a magnitude 6 or higher aftershock in the next 7 days.

National-World / News

Aziza Shuler

Aziza Shuler joined KYMA in March 2019 wearing many hats including the newest anchor and producer for FOX 9, as well as a multi-media journalist for KYMA.

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