Major quake hits Caribbean, triggering evacuations

The tremors were felt as far as the US mainland, where police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Major quake hits Caribbean, triggering evacuations

  • Police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution
  • A 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit off the coast of the Cayman Islands

MIAMI, US: A major 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday in the Caribbean between Jamaica and Cuba, triggering a brief tsunami alert and sending hundreds of people pouring onto the streets of Havana.
The tremors were felt as far as the US mainland, where police in Miami evacuated some buildings as a precaution.
The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at a depth of 10 kilometers at 2:10 p.m. (1910 GMT) — 125 kilometers northwest of Lucea, Jamaica.
It estimated there was a low likelihood of casualties or damage, and there were no immediate reports of either.
Hours later, a 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit off the coast of the Cayman Islands, part of a cluster of more than a dozen aftershocks which were mainly in the four-to-five magnitude range and lasted well into the evening, the USGS said.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned there was a threat of tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to one meter above tide level for the coasts of Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and the Cayman Islands. But it lifted the alert update about two hours later.
The first, bigger quake rattled several tall buildings in the Cuban capital Havana, which were immediately evacuated.
The earthquake was felt in several provinces including Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba in the east, Cienfuegos in the center and Havana in the northwest, the official Cubadebate website reported.
But there were no preliminary reports of damage or injuries.
Jawara Rawjers, a resident of Kingston, Jamaica told AFP: “I felt the house trembling and realized that it was a quake.
“It lasted about 20 seconds. I checked my watch and it was 2:12 pm. I checked on my family but they didn’t feel anything in their part of the house.”
Machel Emanuel, a doctor in the same city, added: “I was on the second floor of a building and there was a sustained shaking of the building. I felt dizzy. The door was slamming consistently for a while.”
Many Jamaicans took to social media in the immediate aftermath to post pictures, unverified by AFP, of swimming pools shaking violently.
In Miami, police said buildings were being evacuated as a precaution after reports of tremors being felt in some areas of the city.


Malaysia’s king rejects PM Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule

Updated 25 October 2020

Malaysia’s king rejects PM Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule

  • Critics say Muhyiddin Yassin’s request for emergency rule is an attempt by the premier to stay in power amid a leadership challenge

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah rejected on Sunday a proposal by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for him to declare a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, saying that he did not see the need.
Critics say Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule, which would include suspending parliament, is an attempt by the premier to stay in power amid a leadership challenge.
Malaysia is seeing a resurgence in virus infections and on Saturday reported its biggest daily jump in cases with 1,228 new cases.
The palace said Muhyiddin made the request for emergency rule to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but that the government has been handling the crisis well.
“Al-Sultan Abdullah is of the opinion that there is no need at the moment for His Majesty to declare an emergency in the country or in any part of the country of Malaysia,” the palace said in a statement.
“His Majesty is confident in the ability of the government under the leadership of the Prime Minister to continue to implement policies and enforcement efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The king’s decision came after a meeting with other senior royals in the country.
The constitution gives the king the right to decide if an emergency should be declared, based on threats to security, economy or public order.
Muhyiddin has been in a precarious position since he took office in March with a two-seat majority. Uncertainties deepened after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said last month he had the parliamentary majority to form a new government.