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PM says building codes may have to change after tremors

One day after an earthquake in the Caribbean Sea caused tremors on New Providence, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said officials may need to take another look at the building codes in The Bahamas.

“Going forward, our building codes may also have to take into consideration the impact of the effects of earthquakes in the region,” he said during a communication in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“Mr. Speaker, today, The Bahamas is not officially within the earthquake zone. However, it is essential for us to liaise with the relevant agencies, both regional and international research centers, so as to make a determination whether amendments are required or amendments are necessary to include The Bahamas within the earthquake zone.

“If such amendment is necessary, then it will be essential for The Bahamas to relook at its building codes, and with international assistance, make the necessary amendments to our building codes.”

Minnis said the government will also continue to consider whether changes are needed for the country’s tsunami protocol.

“In recent years, NEMA has been involved in Caribbean Tsunami Exercises, which evaluated the national protocol, local tsunami response plans, increased tsunami preparedness and improved co-ordination throughout the region,” he said.

“Protocols will continue to be monitored and adjusted as necessary.”

Just after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coasts of Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, causing some infrastructural damage on those islands.

According to the department of meteorology, residents on the southernmost island of Inagua did not report feeling any tremors, but many people on New Providence did. 

As a result, government offices closed early and some businesses were evacuated.

Minnis said he spoke to the prime minister of Jamaica and the premier of the Cayman Islands in the aftermath of the earthquake. He said no Bahamians residing on the islands were injured in the event.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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