This screen grab from a video shows one of the sinkholes which developed in the Cayman Islands after today’s earthquake, January 28, 2020. (GP)
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – The Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) Tuesday gave the “all clear” after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 forced an evocation of buildings and triggered fears of a tsunami.
In a statement, the HMCI said that damage assessments were underway and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) had been using its helicopter to assist with the process.
“There have been no reports of injury so far and minimal reports of damage to property,” the HMCI said, urging members of the public to make damage reports to the relevant authorities.
“Sinkholes have been confirmed at a number of points across the Islands and members of the public are advised to avoid these wherever they occur,” it said, warning that a “number of aftershocks may occur over the next few days”.
The US-based United States Geological Survey (USGS) said that quake occurred approximately 80 miles east south east of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
“The event was strongly felt. It is likely that a tsunami was generated. As a precaution move away from coastal areas and if in low lying areas, evacuate vertically in strong, strong multi story buildings,” the NIHM said, adding “if you are in a building that was structurally damaged remain outside in outdoor areas as aftershocks are possible”.
The USGS reported that the quake occurred at 2.10 pm (3:10 p.m. Barbados time) at a depth of 10 kilometres (km) in the strait between Jamaica and Cuba. It said the epicentre was located latitude/longitude: 19.315°N/78.814°W of the Cayman Islands. It was also felt 72 miles northwest of Lucas in Jamaica at a depth of 6.2 miles.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued a tsunami alert for Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman islands, warning that waves up to 3.5 feet high are possible along the coasts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman islands.
The HMCI said that it was urging all citizens to take precautionary measures and ‘to stay tuned to official sources of information”. (CMC)