Major earthquake triggers tsunami wave fears in Caribbean

by Reuters
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 20:30 GMT

(Adds hazardous warning, details from witnesses)

Jan 28 (Reuters) - A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck in the sea south of Cuba on Tuesday, triggering warnings of "hazardous" tsunami waves up to a meter (3 feet) high for Cuba, Jamaica, and west to Mexico and Central America, but there were no initial reports of major damage.

The epicenter of the quake was between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles (10 km).

"Hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts," the International Tsunami Information Center said.

Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 (1 foot) to 1 meter (3 feet) 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 social 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 Twitter urged people to move away from coastal areas and said that those in low-lying areas should "evacuate vertically" in strong multi-story buildings. (Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Rosalba O'Brien)

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