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Puerto Rico Hit by 5.8 and 6.4 Magnitude Earthquakes

Posted by on January 6th, 2020 Posted in: Blog, Emergency Preparedness and Response

Updated January 21, 2020

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported two earthquakes off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. After a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday morning (January 6) at 6:32 am, a 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 4:24 Tuesday morning (January 7).  

At a Glance

  • The quake Tuesday morning, January 7, has triggered an island wide power outage due to damage at one of the main power plants. Power is expected to be restored later on Tuesday.
  • Damage reports have included collapsed buildings, cracked and raised roadways, and small landslides.
  • There is no tsunami threat to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
  • The island has experienced an increase in seismic activity since December 28, with a number of quakes ranging from 4.7 to 5.1 in magnitude. 
  • January 8, 2020: HHS Secretary Azar Declares Public Health Emergency for Puerto Rico Following Earthquakes
  • January 8, 2020: Waiver of Modification of Requirements Under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a Result of the Consequences of Earthquakes
    • 1135 Waivers – The HHS Secretary may waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements as necessary to ensure to the maximum extent feasible that, in an emergency area during an emergency period, sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals enrolled in Social Security Act (SSA) programs and that providers of such services in good faith who are unable to comply with certain statutory requirements are reimbursed and exempted from sanctions for noncompliance other than fraud or abuse.

State and Territory Resources

Visit the NNLM SEA Page for additional Federal and State Emergency Management Contact Resources.

Puerto Rico

NLM Disaster Information Management Resource Center (DIMRC)

We encourage you to visit the following pages from the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC). You can embed the content from both of these pages on your own Website by accessing the Health and Human Services (HHS) Content Syndication Storefront. When we update any of these pages, your pages will be automatically updated as well.


NNLM SEA Resources

Update: January 9, 2020

Update: January 10, 2020

  • FCC Communications Status Report for Areas Impacted by Puerto Rico Earthquakes January 8, 2020 (English and Spanish )
  • USGS Puerto Rico Earthquake Situation Report #1
  • U.S. HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Issues Guidance to Help Ensure Equal Access to Emergency Services and the Appropriate Sharing of Medical Information Following Puerto Rico Earthquakes

Update: January 14, 2020

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offers widespread support for Puerto Rico amid Earthquakes

Update: January 16, 2020

Update: January 21, 2020


  • #PRStrong
  • #PR
  • #PuertoRicoEarthquake
  • #PuertoRico
  • #RDClaro
  • #Terremoto

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