The Eastern Caribbean, already facing the relentless force of Hurricane Tammy, encountered another natural disaster on October 20, 2023, as an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale shook the region. This seismic event, recorded by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI, SRC), adds to the challenges of a region susceptible to multiple natural threats.
The earthquake, occurring at 9:07 PM, was centred at a depth of 10 kilometres, with its epicentre located at 12.82 degrees North latitude and 59.97 degrees West longitude. This placed the quake approximately 51 kilometres southwest of Bridgetown, Barbados, 145 kilometres east-southeast of Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 175 kilometres southeast of Castries, Saint Lucia. Although of moderate magnitude, the earthquake further complicated the already dire situation due to Hurricane Tammy.
Currently classified as a Category 1 hurricane, Hurricane Tammy has been relentlessly impacting the Eastern Caribbean, bringing heavy winds, torrential rainfall, and storm surges. The concurrent occurrence of an earthquake amidst the hurricane’s passage only adds to the complexity of the ongoing situation.
Thankfully, there have been no immediate reports of significant damage or casualties resulting from the earthquake. However, the earthquake’s timing during Hurricane Tammy’s passage serves as a stark reminder of the region’s susceptibility to multiple natural disasters.
As Hurricane Tammy continues its path through the Eastern Caribbean, forecasts indicate that more rainfall is imminent, heightening the risk of flash floods and landslides. Coastal areas are also expected to experience storm surges and large waves, further complicating the response to the earthquake event.
Residents throughout the Caribbean are being urged to stay informed through official channels, heed local advisories, and take essential safety measures as they confront these compounding natural challenges.
The earthquake and hurricane combination underscore the region’s vulnerability to a range of natural disasters. Effective response to concurrent events requires coordinated efforts, preparedness, and resilience from both individuals and governments as they navigate the impact of Hurricane Tammy and the recent earthquake.
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