7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Damaged Buildings Across Western Jamaica – Local Gov’t Minister


Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, says the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that shook Jamaica yesterday damaged buildings in a number of western parishes.

The tremor’s impact was also felt in the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas, Honduras, Belize and southern Florida.

In the aftermath of the quake, a Tsunami alert was issued by the US Geological Survery for Kingston, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, which has since been lifted.

Minister McKenzie says yesterday’s tremor is the worst to hit the country in over 25 years.

Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development. He was speaking yesterday on Nationwide @ 5 with Cliff Hughes and Rodje Malcolm.

Minister McKenzie says the disaster committees in the western parishes have been activated.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued yesterday, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, ODPEM, said the earthquake, which impacted the entire island, occurred at 2:10 p.m. in the region of Cuba at a depth of 10 kilometres.

Former Head of the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies, Professor Simon Mitchell, says if the earthquake had been closer to Jamaica, the damage could have been exponentially worse.

Professor Simon Mitchell, Former Head of the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies, speaking yesterday on Nationwide @ 5.

He says up to 20 aftershocks were reportedly recorded in the aftermath of yesterday’s 7.7 magnitude tremor.

Less than three weeks ago, Professor Mitchell warned Jamaicans to develop a plan in the event the country is hit by an earthquake.

 In the meantime, Cayman Compass Reporter, Andrel Harris, says two of Cayman’s three islands- Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, felt multiple aftershocks following yesterday’s massive earthquake.

He says data from the US Geological Survey showed that all three of the smaller earthquakes had a magnitude of more than 4.5.

Andrel Harris, Cayman Compass Reporter.

Head the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, says while there isn’t much to report about damage sustained by member States, there are heightened concerns for Cuba.

Head the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, Ronald Jackson

They were both speaking last evening on Nationwide @ 5 with Cliff Hughes and Rodje Malcom.

Meanwhile, commercial activity in sections of New Kingston was brought to a halt yesterday after the 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the business district.

When our news centre arrived in the area, the business hub was at a virtual standstill after terrified workers raced out of high-rise buildings.

Some of the terrified employees shared their experience.

Another person who works in New Kingston told our news centre this was the first time she has ever encountered anything of this nature.

She says she thought she would have died.

Occupants of the Towers on Dominica Drive in New Kingston.

Jerome Jackson contributed to this story.

Tyrone Reid is a multi-award winning investigative journalist, Jamaica’s Journalist of the Year for 2015 and a two-time United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Caribbean Media Award recipient. Reid is undoubtedly in enviable company as his investigative works have been awarded in print, television and radio. He is also the journalist who has won the most individual awards from the coveted Jamaica Broiler’s Group Fair Play Awards. Reid is currently the News and Current Affairs Editor at Nationwide News Network and also one of the Region’s leading investigative journalists.

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