No damage reported after 5.4 magnitude earthquake strikes southeast of Antigua and Barbuda

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By Samantha Simon

[email protected]

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook the islands of Antigua and Barbuda yesterday at approximately 10:43 am local time.

According to preliminary reports from the UWI Seismic Research Centre, the epicenter of the quake was located about 27.3 miles southeast of the islands at a depth of 6.2 miles.

During an interview with Midcie Francis, Public Relations Officer of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), it was confirmed that there had been no reports of injuries or damage so far.

Francis emphasised the importance of following the proper “drop, cover, and hold on” procedure during an earthquake, rather than running outside.

“We actually got reports that there were some workplaces — I’m not sure how true it was — that there were some staff members who actually ran outside during the earthquake, but that’s not something that we advise persons to do.”

Several schools across Antigua and Barbuda were commended for their swift response to the earthquake, with students and teachers following the “drop, cover, and hold” procedure and assembling outside for a headcount.

The Ministry of Education has a programme in place for both government primary and secondary schools to practice earthquake drills, which proved to be effective during this event.

Francis stressed the importance of regular earthquake drills and preparedness, not only in schools but also in workplaces, and encouraged schools and businesses that have not been involved in such exercises to reach out to NODS for assistance and training.

“We urge persons to share their concerns with us. You can email us at [email protected] or call 462-4206. They can also contact us via Facebook or Instagram,” she said.

While no tsunami threat was detected from this earthquake, as such would require a magnitude 6.5 or greater, Francis emphasised the importance of being prepared and aware of the actions to take during seismic events.

“We want to encourage individuals in Antigua and Barbuda to be very much aware of the actions that we should take because we’re living in a very seismically active zone, meaning that we do experience a lot of earthquakes, some of them we don’t feel,” she explained.

Residents of Antigua and Barbuda are advised to stay calm and be prepared for potential aftershocks.

If indoors, take cover under a sturdy desk or table and stay away from windows and heavy objects that could fall.

If outdoors, move to an open area away from buildings, trees, and powerlines.

Also, monitor official news sources and follow the instructions of local authorities for further updates and guidance.

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