Puerto Rico is struggling to simultaneously tackle two emergencies with limited resources: earthquakes that have not stopped since December and the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the earthquakes in the south of the island have never ceased, none have been as strong as the magnitude 5.4 earthquake reported at 7:13 a.m. Saturday.
According to Puerto Rico’s Department of Housing, the agency is managing 12 shelters with 792 refugees. Another 584 refugees are in 19 shelters not managed by Housing. Most of the refugees didn’t lose their homes, but instead are afraid that the structures are not safe because of quake damage.
The recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico have been followed by the dismissals of several heads of government agencies this week, and ongoing protests demanding the resignation of the island’s unelected chief executive, Gov. Wanda Vázquez.