A swarm of more than 20 minor earthquakes Saturday in the region are not unusual and residents should not be alarmed, according to Elton Lewis, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Authority.
Beginning at approximately 4:38 a.m. Saturday and continuing, more than 20 tremors were registered. These tremors — considered minor earthquakes — range from 2.6 to a 3.4 in magnitude as of 11 a.m., occurring near 18 degrees north and 65 degrees west.
“This sort of earthquake activity, called a ‘swarm of tremors’, occurs several times a year in different parts of the Caribbean region and is not unusual and so it is not alarming,” Lewis said. “However, I remind everyone that earthquakes occur without warning, so it’s important that individuals know what to do if a strong earthquake occurs. According to experts, be prepared but not alarmed.”
A person who is indoors when a major earthquake is felt should drop to the ground, cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops, VITEMA advised. If there is no table or desk nearby people are advised to drop to the ground and if possible move to an inside corner of the room.
"Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms," the statement continued.
The relief agency cautioned people against trying to move to another location or going outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that run or crawl may be impossible. People are more likely to be injured if they try to move around during strong shaking.
"You will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start of the big one, and that’s why you should always drop, cover, and hold on immediately," the VITEMA release said.