‘Remain calm:’ Jamaica prime minister urges citizens to follow safety guidance after quake

‘Remain calm:’ Jamaica prime minister urges citizens to follow safety guidance after quake

Eric Lagatta

Jamaica was rocked Monday by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that shook buildings and sent people fleeing for cover.

The earthquake struck near Hope Bay, a small settlement on the Caribbean island nation, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS.) No casualties or any serious damage have been reported after the quake, which the USGS said occurred at a depth of six miles.

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Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the island’s officials are “taking all precautions and all the necessary protocols have been activated.” While electricity and communications were briefly disrupted, Holness said in a video on X that most were restored and airports remained open.

“We implore citizens to remain calm and follow all the protocols regarding earthquakes and general safety,” Holness said in the post.

(1/2) Jamaica just experienced an earthquake. The preliminary measurement of the earthquake is approximately 5. 6 in magnitude, centred around Buff Bay in Portland.

The damage assessment indicates minor displacement, however, pic.twitter.com/IziQYFnEUv

— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) October 30, 2023

Large earthquakes rare in Jamaica

While Jamaica experiences about 200 earthquakes a year, the Associated Press reported that larger earthquakes are a rare occurrence on the island nation, which the U.S. Geological Survey says shares a fault line with Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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In the United States, the risk that Americans may experience an earthquake has been growing as the number of buildings being constructed in “high earthquake hazard areas” continues to increase, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a report earlier this year.

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Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected]

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