Puerto Ricans in Cleveland concerned over wave of earthquakes beneath island

Northeast Ohioans react to wave of Puerto Rico earthquakes

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nydia Laracuente works at Lara’s Cake, a pastry shop on Cleveland’s West Side. But the moment she first heard of the earthquake in Puerto Rico, she immediately bought a plane ticket to the island.

“I started to cry like crazy — hysterically,” she said in Spanish. “I went to look at the news to find out what happened.”

Both of her kids are on the island right now, visiting Nydia’s hometown area of Ponce. She will also travel to the island to visit her mother’s home to make sure everything is OK.

“I cannot spend the night here knowing that my kids are there and something can happen to them,” Nydia said.

Nydia is one of many Puerto Ricans in Cleveland that are worried about their family, friends and fellow islanders after the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that killed at least one person. The tremors toppled houses and damaged buildings.

Nydia used to live in Puerto Rico for several years, but she never heard of an earthquake in the island before. “This isn’t like a storm where you can track it and prepare for it," she said. "This is unpredictable. I don’t know when it’s going to happen.”

Jean Gabriel Garcia works for the restaurant “El Sabor de Ponce.” He says the earthquake is coming off the heels of Hurricane Maria’s impact in 2017.

“To have something like this happen, right after the Island, my family and my friends recovered from the storm, it’s sad,” he said, also in an interview in Spanish.

Jean said he is hopeful the island will recover soon. “People always call [Puerto Ricans] ‘The Fighters,'" he said. "We’ll reach whatever goals we set out, and I know we’ll keep moving forward.”

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