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Puerto Rico Hopes to Relocate Families Displaced by Earthquake

Puerto Rico San Juan

The Associated Press reports that Puerto Rico’s government hopes to relocate all of the families impacted by January’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake that destroyed or damaged nearly 1,700 homes.

Ongoing tremors have forced re-inspections of more than 7,000 homes that engineers already visited. 

“We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said. “No one was prepared.”

The report states that a total of 4,600 people remain in shelters along Puerto Rico’s southern coast. Vasquez, however, said the majority did not report any damage in their house and were scared to return home due to continuing shakes. 

Three hundred homes were destroyed and another 1,390 damaged by the quake, according to the Associated Press. 

Alex Amparo, Puerto Rico’s coordinating officer, said $3.8 million has been approved to help affected by the quake. 

Information from Global Property Guide found that the island’s housing market is recovering, as its seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index rose 10.59% year-over-year as of Q3 2019. Quarter over quarter, though, house prices fell by 2.66% in Q3 2019.

Demand is on the rise in Puerto Rico as well, but GPG notes that the island’s housing market is still fragile, due to economic woes stemming from recent disasters.

On Tuesday, January 7, Puerto Rico was struck by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake south of Indios. Puerto Rico, still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017 when the island felt economic losses exceeding $1 billion in Ponce alone. Following the earthquake, CoreLogic expects the economic loss to be maintained within the $1 billion mark.

“I am concerned because Puerto Rico hasn't yet fully recovered from Hurricane Maria, and many of the homes on the island are designed for hurricanes and floods - they're basically built on stilts, which makes them very vulnerable to earthquakes,” said Leisha Delgado, Founder & CEO, Hello Solutions. “Our experience from Maria tells us that there will be challenges coordinating assistance efforts, and communicating with people in parts of the island without power, so they may not know how to get aid, or know that help is on its way.”

About Author: Mike Albanese

Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville.
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