Chicagoan Sandra Franceschi was visiting family in Puerto Rico when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the area before dawn on Tuesday.
“The whole house was shaking,” Franceschi said.
Franceschi’s family lives only a few miles from the epicenter of the quake that killed one man, and injured at least eight other people.
“The first thing I did was grab my grandbabies from the bed in their pajamas and ran out.”
Franceschi and others in Puerto Rico aren’t in the clear just yet. Strong aftershocks have already been felt in the area, and more are expected in the coming days.
Puerto Rico may be thousands of miles and an ocean away, but distance doesn’t matter when a disaster like this hits so close to home for many Chicagoans.
Residents like Melissa Lewis, Principal of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park, know firsthand what this can feel like.
“This overwhelming sense of fear is what’s penetrating in the air right now,” Melissa Lewis said.
Lewis is principal of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park. She now balances the fear she has for her family, with her obligation to serve hundreds of students.
“There’s this trauma,” Lewis said. “There’s still this sensitivity. there’s a lot of battle scars of what people had to go through with Hurricane Maria.”
Scientists say there have been 23 magnitude three or higher quakes in the last several days. They estimate the region has less than a 10 percent chance to see a quake larger than the Tuesday’s 6.4-magnitude quake in the next week.