Updated Jan 11, 2020 - Science

More earthquakes hit Puerto Rico, as island remains in fear

In this image, a child rests their head in a woman's lap on top of a car in Puerto Rico.

Siblings in a Guanica, Puerto Rico parking lot on Jan. 9 after a powerful earthquake hit the island. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Puerto Rico on Saturday around 8:54 a.m., about 8 miles south of Indios, marking the most powerful tremor since a magnitude 6.4 quake hit the island on Tuesday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

What's happening: Multiple intermittent earthquakes affected the island on Friday and into Saturday morning, including a 5.2 magnitude earthquake Friday following quakes earlier this week that killed at least one person, caused widespread power outages and displaced nearly 2,000 people.

The state of play: The Lares, Adjuntas, Ponce and San German regions lost power after earthquakes on Saturday morning, Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority said. PREPA claims that roughly 93% of Puerto Ricans still have power.

  • But, the Costa Sur power plant — which produces most electricity on the island — may be out of service for up to a year, officials said, per the New York Times.
  • President Trump spoke with Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez on Friday afternoon about the island's recovery efforts after approving Puerto Rico's request for federal disaster assistance on Wednesday.

The impact: Thousands of Puerto Ricans were still living outside as of Thursday, out of fear of collapsing buildings from subsequent quakes days after the 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook the island, per the Times.

  • "[O]ne person was directly killed" by the 5.2 earthquake on Friday, "but at least three people have died of apparent heart attacks that may be related to the earthquake’s effects," officials said, per the Times.

The big picture: Since a recent series of earthquakes began in Puerto Rico in December, more than 139 earthquakes of at least 3.0 magnitude have spread through the region, per the USGS. At least eight of those quakes were over 5.0 magnitude, including the largest on Jan. 7.

Go deeper... In photos: Puerto Rico in state of emergency after back-to-back quakes

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest information.

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