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Caribbean rocked again - Cayman quake felt in Jamaica, Cuba and Miami

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Another earthquake shook the Caribbean yesterday morning. Exactly a week after a 7.0 seismic monster devastated Haiti leaving thousands confirmed dead and thousands more feared dead, the Cayman Islands was rocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.

According to a CNN report, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said that the 6.2-mile deep quake hit at 9:23 a.m., some 40 miles from George Town, Cayman Islands. George Town is the capital of Grand Cayman, the largest of the three-island chain that also includes Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Sections of the Corporate Area and Montego Bay were rocked by aftershocks from the earthquake in Cayman and, according to the USGS, aftershocks were also felt in Cuba and Miami.

Sigh of relief

People living in Cayman, which is still a territory of the United Kingdom, breathed a sigh of relief as there have been no reports of major damage or loss of life.

"At this stage, we have had no reports of any damage or injuries for any of our residents," Simon Boxall, public education awareness officer at the Hazard Management Cayman Islands, told The Gleaner shortly after the seismic activity.

In describing the earthquake, Boxall said the initial impact was quite a strong jolt for a few seconds, which was followed by a couple of aftershocks. He also said that people left their offices and assembled in car parks across the island.

Shortly after the earthquake, phone lines were jammed as calls flooded the tiny island nation.

Felt quake in car

Many Jamaicans live in Grand Cayman. Calvin Meredith is one of them.

Meredith told our news team that he was driving when the earthquake hit. "I … stopped at the stop light and I feel when the car just moving and I was wondering if somebody ran into my back," he explained

"Then I heard on the radio that we had an earthquake. There is a lot of excitement on the street here now," he said.

This is the second major earthquake in the Caribbean in the last two days, following the magnitude 6.0 quake which hit Guatemala and El Salvador on Monday.

Scientific officer at the Earthquake Unit, Carleen Black, said Jamaicans should be concerned about this "because we live in an earthquake zone".

According to the USGS, 28 earthquakes occurred worldwide yesterday.