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Puerto Rico National Guard helps respond to earthquakes

Published Jan. 8, 2020
U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the 156th Wing, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, and U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to the 482nd Chemical Company, Puerto Rico National Guard, pose in front of a vehicle near Rio de la Plata, Puerto Rico, Dec. 27, 2019. Members of the Puerto Rico National Guard were activated to support state and federal operations working to stabilize the vegetation debris fire that has been burning underground in Cayey, Puerto Rico, since Nov. 28, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the 156th Wing, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, and U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to the 482nd Chemical Company, Puerto Rico National Guard, pose in front of a vehicle near Rio de la Plata, Puerto Rico, Dec. 27, 2019. Members of the Puerto Rico National Guard were activated to support state and federal operations working to stabilize the vegetation debris fire that has been burning underground in Cayey, Puerto Rico, since Nov. 28, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

The Puerto Rico National Guard was activated Tuesday to help respond to earthquakes that caused heavy damage, some injuries and at least one fatality in the southwest area of the island.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez-Garced activated the Guard after a series of earthquakes along the southern coast culminating in a predawn 6.4 temblor Tuesday.

"The Puerto Rico National Guard has begun to respond to the call of our people in support of the Emergency & Disaster Management Agency," said the Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, adjutant general of the PRNG. "Our Joint Operations Center is currently operational, and our engineers will proceed to inspect identified bridges for damages. Additionally, we have emergency teams and tactical vehicles prepositioned in various municipalities, ready to assist as needed."

Reyes urged "everyone to remain calm and not speculate. Pay close attention to recommendations and guidance from government agencies and official sources."