Jamaica urged to prepare for imminent major earthquake

US seismic expert Professor Eric Calais has urged Jamaicans to develop long-term strategies to prepare for an imminent  major earthquake on the island. Professor Calais, who based his advisory on the area's history and active seismic activity, said most scientists expect Jamaica will face an earthquake of magnitude of 7 or 7.5 on the Richter scale.

While it is impossible for scientists to predict the timing of earthquakes, Calais, professor of geophysics at Purdue University, is credible because he was among a group of scientists who warned officials in Haiti  in March 2008 that their country was ripe for a major earthquake.

Two years later Haiti was hit with  the deadly 7.0 quake that devastated the island, killing some 316,000 people and leaving many more homeless.

Calais also pointed out that Jamaica is located along the same seismically-active plate boundary as Haiti.

In 1907 Kingston was hit with a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, considered by many as one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history. Every building in Kingston was damaged by the earthquake which caused 800 to 1,000 deaths, and left approximately 10,000 homeless.

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