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Magnitude 6.2 earthquake shakes Caribbean, Disaster official questions, “How many people did the DCH?”


by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “Did you feel it?” was the most frequently asked question on social media on Monday afternoon, July 10, 2023, after many people across the Caribbean recalled their experiences of heavy tremors from an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre disclosed in a release that the earthquake occurred outside its monitoring zone but was felt in some of the islands.

WINN FM confirmed that the earthquake was felt in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, St. Maarten/ Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Netherland Antilles, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and the US, Virgin Islands.

The UWI Seismic Research Centre reported that the earthquake occurred at 4:28 p.m. It was located at about 20.06 North and 60.97 West, with a depth of 25 kilometres.

Meanwhile, additional research suggests that the epicentre of the earthquake was 277 km NNE of Codrington Antigua and Barbuda, followed by another earthquake in that same vicinity around 5:00 p.m of a magnitude 4.2.

An individual who resides in St. Kitts told WINN FM that it was the first time she had felt an earthquake. Her desk and computer were shaking a lot, she said.

Another individual mentioned that the earthquake had a long duration. Others said they heard about the earthquake from friends and family but did not feel it.

WINN FM reached out to the Senior Communication Officer at the Nevis Department Management Department (NDMD), Mr. Jack Ngumba, who asked a very fundamental question?

“How many people did the DCH (Drop, Cover, Hold on)?”

He added, “During an earthquake, staying calm is necessary; also, taking cover under sturdy furniture or against interior walls can protect individuals from falling debris.”

“After the shaking stops, it is important to evaluate the situation carefully before proceeding to any action. Checking for injuries among family members or colleagues should be prioritised,” Mr. Ngumba said.

Earthquakes occur swiftly, without warning. They can strike at any time. The Senior Communication Officer explained that people must be prepared by putting into practice the simple yet important behaviours that can help save lives and reduce damage.

Mr. Ngumba said, “Recent events have underscored the importance of being prepared for earthquakes through safety measures such as securing furniture and creating emergency kits. However, true resilience lies in behavioural change at both individual and societal levels [such as] investing in infrastructure by ensuring that new and retrofitting infrastructures stick to strict seismic building codes, implementing early warning systems, and educating the public. Through these collective efforts, we hope to mitigate the damaging impact of earthquakes and protect our communities.

The Disaster Preparedness official further stated, ” Households and community discussions on earthquake awareness should occur regularly to educate loved ones and the community about earthquake preparedness and response strategies. Schools should continually incorporate disaster management into their curriculum so that children are equipped with knowledge from a young age.”

Earthquakes occur quite often in the Caribbean region; their intensity may range from slight tremors that are frequently felt to rare, great shocks that span for a duration of a few seconds to several minutes and also big earthquakes, as seen in Haiti, which are high impact, with a series of shocks lasting several days or even months.


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