About two-thirds of Puerto Rico is still without power, and a quarter is lacking running water, after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday, the BBC reported. It was the strongest earthquake to hit the island in more than 100 years.
At least one person died and more than 300 homes were destroyed when the earthquake and its 6.0-magnitude aftershock hit Puerto Rico. On Tuesday, Governor Wanda Vazquez called a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to assist in recovery efforts.
The southern side of the island was most impacted by the earthquakes. Buildings in the towns of Yauco, Guanica and Guayanilla collapsed due to the tremors. Puerto Ricans who were without access to information slept outside, uncertain if another quake would hit and cause their homes to crumble, according to The New York Times.
The earthquake knocked down considerable infrastructure, including the island’s main generating plant at Costa Sur. The power authority said electricity likely won’t be restored to Puerto Rico’s three million inhabitants until the weekend. The plant is unlikely to be repaired until next year. Power has been restored to most hospitals.
About 70 percent of the buildings in Puerto Rico were built before earthquake-resistant codes were enacted. Many are fearful that the buildings will not be able to hold up if more quakes hit.
Remote parts of the island were still dealing with lingering infrastructure issues caused by Hurricane Maria more than two years ago. "With the hurricane, you knew when and at what time it would arrive," Tatiana Rodriguez, a resident of Guayanilla, told CNN. "This, you don't know at what time it's going to happen."
The earthquake on Tuesday was one of hundreds of tremors that have struck the island since December 28. On Monday, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake caused the popular rock formation of Punta Ventana to collapse.
Hurricane Maria is estimated to have killed almost 3,000 people and caused more than $100 billion in damages. Last year, the Puerto Rican government came under fire for corruption following the hurricane relief efforts. Mass protests across the island forced the resignation of the governor.