Earthquake rocks Honduras

| 28/05/2009

(CNS): The tourist heart of Honduras has been rocked by a major earthquake today, (Thursday 28 May) which also triggered a tsunami alert in the region. The powerful 7.3-magnitude quake left five dead and at least 13 hurt and shook countries as far away as Mexico. At around 3.30 am local time the earthquake occurred north of the Bay Islands of Honduras near the tourist resort of the Islas de la Bahia at coordinates 16.7 North and 86.3 West. A tsunami watch was issued for Belize, Honduras and Guatemala which ahs since been withdrawn.


The quake reportedly damaged two bridges, 50 homes, 10 schools, two public buildings, two hotels, a factory and a church and a total of 17 aftershocks, all above magnitude four, have been recorded. Officials also said they expected the death toll to rise as reports come in from poor villages and towns in the mountainous area around Honduras’ Caribbean coast.

The Cayman Islands own Hazard Management issued a release following the quake noting that while Cayman was not included in this morning’s tsunami warning or in any danger the islands are vulnerable to this natural hazard and plans are in place for the establishment of a Caribbean–wide tsunami warning system and the Cayman Islands expect to play a part in that effort.

The Caribbean tsunami warning system should be operational by 2010 / 2011. A network of seismographs is being established for the Caribbean region and this is part of a global project being run by UNESCO’s International Oceanographic Commission,” Hazard Management said.

IT noted that the Cayman Islands Government has commissioned a seismic monitoring network, and one of these already operating in Frank Sound detected this morning’s earthquake and the information was relayed through to HMCI as expected.

Hazard management Cayman Islands (HMCI) said that Earthquakes do occur from time to time in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands as we are located near to the boundary of the North American plate, with the Caribbean plate sliding past to the south.

The likelihood of a large catastrophic earthquake in the Cayman Islands is considered a very remote possibility; however the threat does exist nevertheless,” HMCI added. “In December 2004 a 6.8 magnitude earthquake occurred 20 miles to the south of Grand Cayman. Since the formation of HMCI in 2006 the agency has embarked on a proactive public education campaign to raise awareness of the earthquake threat in the Cayman Islands.”


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