T&T Government condemns “fake news” following earthquake

The Trinidad and Tobago government Wednesday criticized people spreading “fake news” about the extent of the damage caused by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that rocked the oil rich twin island republic on Tuesday.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has since expressed support to Trinidad and Tobago, adding that Havana is ‘ready to attend any emergency.”

Fake news on social media

Communications and National Security Minister Stuart Young said that while “thankfully we have had no reports of deaths and injuries” there were people, including opposition politicians, who had been using the social media network to disseminate fake news on the incident. “I want to denounce all of those persons…circulating fake news,” Young told reporters at the weekly post cabinet news conference, adding that “this is very irresponsible, that is something that is unacceptable.”

Young said that several government buildings had been closed Wednesday as a result of Tuesday’s quake as engineers and other stakeholders undertake an assessment of the situation. He said the assessment is also being done by private building owners. “I expect more reports of damages,“ he said, adding that he hope the non-loss of lives would remain that way.

Another quake on Wednesday

On Wednesday, the country was rocked by another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9. Young and the seismic Research center (SRC) of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) warned the population to be prepared for additional aftershocks in the coming days.

“I think we can expect aftershocks…the state will continue to monitor,” Young said, urging citizens not to take unnecessary risks” and should not crowd the various health centers and hospitals unless it is necessary. He said the police were out in full force to maintain law and order and young appealed again to citizens to ‘continue to be each other’s keeper. “At the end of the day we are all our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Most electricity restored

Meanwhile, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Company (T7TEC) said that nearly 100 per cent of its customers are “back on supply, with individual reports and small local outages being attended to.” It said that overnight the majority of those reports were completed as a result of additional crews being called out in all areas. “Bearing in mind that aftershocks are expected, we want to share some safety tips with customers: During or immediately after an earthquake we encourage customers to turn off breakers to protect appliances in the event of surges. When outdoor, stay away from poles and wires as that may be shaking, in case they fall. If poles or wires are on the ground treat as if they are live! Stay away and contact T&TEC.

“Similarly, if trees fall on lines or poles, do not touch them as they can act as a conductor for electricity and electrocute or shock the individual.”

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