At least one person was killed early Tuesday morning when Puerto Rico was hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that caused a power outage around the island.
The earthquake struck at 4:24 a.m., less than 24 hours after two quakes — registering at 5.8 and 5.1, respectively — hit the island on Monday morning. A 6.0-magnitude aftershock was recorded three hours later on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Nelson Martínez Guillén, a 73-year-old man in the city of Ponce, was killed during the quake when a wall that was under construction in his home collapsed, Mayor Mayita Meléndez told the media, according to the New York Times. His nephew heard a “big noise” when the wall fell, he recalled to Telemundo.
“People don’t feel safe,” Ponce Mayor Meléndez told NBC News. “We are living moments of uncertainty.”
The powerful tremors have collapsed homes and caused landslides and power outages around the U.S. territory. The quakes also toppled the Punta Ventana, a stone arch shaped like a window that had been one of the island’s most popular natural landmarks.
Unusual seismic activity in the region began to spike in late December, and more than a thousand quakes have been recorded in that time. Most of them have been too small to feel.
“We’ve never been exposed to this kind of emergency in 102 years,” Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez said on Tuesday, according to NBC News, referencing a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in October 1918 that sparked a tsunami and killed 116 people on the island.
In a press conference, Vázquez placed the island under a state of emergency and announced that schools and government offices had been closed. Residents were urged to stay inside their homes unless their building had structural damage.
“Citizen security is a priority, so vulnerable areas are being inspected and all necessary measures will be taken to ensure the safety of all Puerto Ricans,” Vásquez added.
The quakes that have jolted the island this week have left many residents fearful of what’s to come.
“People are afraid to go to bed, to then be woken up to worse earthquakes than the day before,” Yauco resident Riko Gonzalez told CNN. “[It was] horrible, nothing compared to the [magnitude] 5s from yesterday.”
While much of the island was left without power after Tuesday’s quake, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority announced on Twitter that electricity would be restored during the day, barring any other major issues.
Director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network Víctor Huérfano told the Associated Press that this is expected to be “the largest quake for now” and that aftershocks will “continue for some time.”