Magnitude 7.7 quake triggers tsunami warning for Caribbean countries

MIAMI  – A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck in the sea south of Cuba on Tuesday (Jan 28), triggering warnings of “hazardous” tsunami waves up to a metre high for Cuba, Jamaica, and west to Mexico and Central America, but there were no initial reports of major damage.

The epicentre of the quake was between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, at a shallow depth of 10km.

“Hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the International Tsunami Information Centre said.

Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1m above the tide level were possible for coastal parts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, it said.

The quake was felt in several provinces across Cuba, the government said. It was not strongly felt in the capital of Havana, according to a Reuters witness.

It was also not felt strongly in Kingston, Jamaica, according to witnesses, although video on media showed water splashing out of a swimming pool, apparently on the island.

Mikhail Campbell, a police media relations officer in the Cayman Islands, said he was not immediately aware of any initial reports of serious damage.

The disaster management agency for the Cayman Islands government on urged people to move away from coastal areas and said that those in low-lying areas should “evacuate vertically” in strong multi-story buildings.

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