natural disasters

Carlos Giusti / AP

A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck near southern Puerto Rico on Saturday, briefly knocking out power and forcing the relocation of at least 50 families on an island where some people still remain in shelters from previous quakes earlier this year. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — A few days after Hurricane Dorian, Amanda Kellowan rummaged through what was left. She had just spent 36 hours in the attic of her home, fleeing from the 30-foot storm surge that swept over her island home of Grand Bahama last September.

Spirit Airlines Is Done Dealing With Hurricanes, So Operations Are Moving Out

Feb 14, 2020
ERIC SALARD / Creative Commons

South Florida residents have grown used to the looming threat of hurricanes crashing into the coast and disrupting their lives for days or weeks. But Spirit Airlines has had enough.

The airline, one of only a handful still operating out of South Florida, is relocating its operations department to somewhere much less likely to get leveled by a hurricane — Tennessee.

Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel

More than two years after elderly residents died following Hurricane Irma, an appeals court next week will take up a battle about whether the state should have revoked the license of a Broward County nursing home.

Angry residents took to the streets of Puerto Rico on Monday.

Fury over the government's mishandling of disaster aid following a spate of devastating earthquakes earlier this month, coupled with the recent discovery of unused supplies — some dating back to Hurricane Maria — is driving frustrated demonstrators to the gates of the governor's mansion.

2 More Puerto Rico Officials Fired After Warehouse Break-In

Jan 20, 2020
CARLOS GIUSTI / AP

Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired the heads of Puerto Rico’s housing and family departments Sunday in the latest fallout over the discovery of a warehouse filled with emergency supplies dating from Hurricane Maria.

The removal of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar came a day after the governor fired the director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency. Vázquez fired him hours after a Facebook video showed angry people breaking into the warehouse in an area where thousands have been in shelters since a recent earthquake.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is releasing its hold on billions of dollars of aid to Puerto Rico after a months-long delay. But it is still unclear exactly when those funds will reach the hurricane-ravaged island.

The tranche of money, more than $8 billion, is allocated through a Department of Housing and Urban Development disaster recovery fund. It was supposed to be released months ago to help the island rebuild in the wake of devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Some in Puerto Rico are beginning to fear the ground will never stop shaking.

The island has been pummeled by hundreds of earthquakes in recent weeks, including Saturday's 5.9 magnitude temblor, where there were reports of landslides in the town of Peñuelas along the southern coast, rattling residents already on edge from last Tuesday's massive 6.4 magnitude quake.

PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

Puerto Rico is slightly more likely to be hit with an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or higher over the next week, the U.S. Geological Survey said, after an intense aftershock Saturday led the agency to tweak its statistical models.

In an “Aftershock Forecast” updated Sunday, the USGS said the chance of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake or higher was 11% — up from 7% a week ago. However, the chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake remained at just 1%.

“Such an earthquake is possible but with low probability,” the USGS said.

Editor's note: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in Jan. 12, 2010, left 220,000 people dead, 300,000 injured and rubble nearly everywhere.

CARLOS GIUSTI / AP

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, and was followed three hours later by an aftershock measuring 6.0. They are the largest in a series of quakes that have struck the U.S. territory in recent days and caused heavy damage in some areas.

Eight people were injured in the city of Ponce, near the epicenter of the quake, Mayor Mayita Meléndez told WAPA television.

Matias J. Ocner / MIAMI HERALD

A 5.7-magnitude quake jolted Puerto Ricans out of their beds Monday morning, the strongest quake yet to hit the U.S. territory that has been shaking for the past week.

The quake struck just south of the island at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (over 6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Service. There was no tsunami threat, officials said.

Power outages were reported in some parts of Puerto Rico following the quake, Angel Vazquez, the emergency management director for the southern coastal city of Ponce, told The Associated Press.

The outbreak of wildfires in Australia has reached a tipping point. Thousands of residents were evacuated this week, as bush fires reached the suburban fringes of Sydney, the skies turning blood-red. Coastline towns in the states of New South Wales and Victoria were consumed by the blaze, leaving thousands homeless. Many are stuck behind fire lines, trapped without power or cell service.

Conditions are growing increasingly dire in the Bahamas almost a week after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Caribbean nation.

Food, water and other supplies are rapidly running out, and residents are waiting desperately to evacuate the devastated Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama. Officials announced late Friday that the death toll had risen to 43, with 35 dead in Abaco and eight in Grand Bahama.

Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas with high winds and rain for more than two days, and officials in the Bahamas say at least seven people died in the storm, including children. That toll is feared to rise as recovery efforts get underway.

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