2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake Update

Jan 14, 2020 | Ministry Partners

2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake Update

By Michelle Muniz
Disaster Recovery Coordinator | Presbiterio de San Juan

Dear partners, 

May the peace of God be with you all,

(As I was writing this email, an 5.4 aftershock was felt island wide)

As many of you may know, since December 28th, the south region of Puerto Rico has been registering seismic activity. It was not until last Sunday, January 6th that a 5.8 earthquake hit. The next morning, at 4:24am, a 6.4 earthquake, with an epicenter in the same south region, was felt island-wide. Aftershocks are still happening today with less intensity, however, many are felt everywhere in PR. After the 6.4 earthquake, the island went into a complete blackout. Today, there are still communities without power. Some Puerto Ricans compare this emergency to Hurricane Maria’s aftermath, others are assuring this is even worse.

Our Presbyterian Churches across Puerto Rico, alongside many other denominations, and non-profit organizations, have been getting together and collecting donations and supplies. Presbytery of San Juan and Presbytery of the Northwest are supporting the Presbytery of the Southwest, taking supplies, donations and hot meals to the affected areas. This weekend there’s a Presbytery drive at each church in the San Juan region, and donations should arrive in one of our churches in Guánica by Monday. We are currently using La Casona de Monteflores, our PDA volunteer host site in San Juan, as a distribution center, as well as the Presbyterian Church in Country Club, Carolina

Here are some numbers (updated today at 1pm):

Counting only 4 municipalities in the south:
35 homes completely destroyed
287 homes with major damage
1,100 homes with minor damage
920 homes affected

In terms of people in shelters:
4,211 people in government official shelters
3,400 people sleeping in open improvised camps at parks, plazas, parking lots
7,611 people in total lacking of housing

These numbers are extremely hard to share. We can only imagine the despair of the families still wondering how they will start all over. We continue to work alongside the Presbytery of the Southwest discerning in ways to support communities affected.

Later on, I will share details about volunteer projects regarding earthquake recovery response, however, because the seismic activity continues we still don’t have any worksite directly related to this. We continue to host volunteers to work on hurricane recovery through our all our PDA host sites in San Juan, Dorado, Añasco, San Sebastián and Aguada. (For more information about registering your group please contact

I can’t thank you enough for the support given after Hurricane Maria through donations, volunteering, phone calls, text messages during every storm warning, and messages of love after hearing about the earthquakes. 

If you want to contribute to the recovery efforts through the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (hurricane or earthquake) feel free to go to this link and/or contact me about sending donations to our host site.

You can also read an article about PDA Staff visit to affected areas after the earthquake this week, and watch an TV Newscast interview to PDA Staff, Rev. Jim Kirk, here.


Michelle Muñiz

Disaster Recovery Coordinator / Coordinadora de Recuperación de Desastres
Presbiterio de San Juan

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