We May Need To Revise Building Codes After Tremors, Says Pm

PRIME Minister Hubert Minnis. (File photo)

PRIME Minister Hubert Minnis. (File photo)


Deputy Chief Reporter


PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday it might be necessary for the country’s building codes to be amended to ensure structures can withstand the impact of earthquakes.

The day after some residents experienced tremors as a result of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake near Jamaica, the prime minister told Parliament a determination would also have to be made on whether The Bahamas needed to be included in earthquake zones.

On Tuesday, a regional earthquake disrupted a Cabinet meeting and forced dozens along New Providence’s northern coast to evacuate their multi-storey office buildings and seek safety on ground level.

Cabinet Office ordered government offices closed early as a precautionary measure.

Dr Minnis said yesterday: “Going forward, our building codes may also have to take into consideration the impact of the affect of earthquakes in the region.

“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 centres, so as to make a determination whether amendments are required or amendments are necessary to include The Bahamas within earthquake zones.

“If such amendments are necessary, then it’ll be essential for The Bahamas to look at its building codes and with international assistance make the necessary amendments to our building codes.”

Dr Minnis said the National Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Meteorology will carefully monitor any further earthquake advisories and tsunami threat messages from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC). He said the public will then be advised.

If there is an earthquake-generated tsunami threat to the region that includes The Bahamas, Dr Minnis told the House of Assembly that the PTWC will issue a tsunami watch and information to the country through the Meteorology Department.

The met office will then notify NEMA and the agency will then activate national response procedures, notifying relevant agencies and vulnerable communities.

The PTWC on Tuesday said a 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred 83 miles northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, at about 2.10pm at the depth of six miles and was felt in New Providence around 2.15pm. According to the National Emergency Management Agency, there were no reports of impact to the southern islands.

Unlike Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, The Bahamas never faced tsunami threats.

Some workers at Colina Insurance on East Bay Street felt the vibrations.

In the heart of downtown Nassau, The Tribune encountered Cabinet ministers and government workers leaving the Churchill Building due to the tremors shortly after 3pm on Tuesday. Some of them said they felt vibrations while others did not.

Education Minister Jeff Lloyd said ministers had just started their afternoon Cabinet meeting when they felt the building shake.

Elsewhere downtown, business continued as usual, with many saying they felt nothing.

Meanwhile, the United States Geological Survey reported that a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit off the Cayman Islands about two hours after the first earthquake and there were several smaller quakes reported in and near Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.


moncurcool 2 months ago

What i still cannot understand is how new Providence claiming to have tremors of the earthquake, and no one from Inagua talking about tremors. Baffles me.


The_Oracle 2 months ago

Revising building codes for either Cat 5-6-7 Hurricanes or Earthquakes will not fix the existing and prevalent lack of building code enforcement or lack of Inspectors with Integrity. Aside driving building costs up what will be accomplished? And how will you accomplish forced retrofitting of existing buildings?


bogart 2 months ago

Very good points. Actually apart from tremors from earthquakes the increasing intensity and the prolonged period of hurricane little or no travelling remaining at same spot have scientists studying the repeating frequency pounding of waves on flat surfaces creating tremors.


B_I_D___ 2 months ago

Oh please...people need to calm the F down over the earthquake tremors.


bahamianson 2 months ago

Yup , change the building codes when it cost a.fortune to construct a three bedroom already. Try paying the house insurance. Guess how many people have earthquake insurance in the Bahamas? None! Oh, just add another thousand dollars to your present insurance. Just baffling!


xtreme2x 2 months ago

what building code will withstand a 7.0 earthquake? only 1 i think off is to build on air.


Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

And PM Minnis turned to his personal secretary and said:

"I want you to immediately type a letter for my signature addressed to the manufacturer of all those Domes we bought for Abaco telling them that all Domes we buy in the future must be earthquake proof no matter what it costs."


joeblow 2 months ago

It seems more reasonable to determine if we are near earthquake fault lines that would put us at risk of earthquake activity. It seems our neighbors in the south should have much greater concerns. I remember reading years ago that Port Royal Jamaica sank into the sea because an earthquake in the 1600's (they couldn't blame climate change).


sheeprunner12 2 months ago

Just find a cliff face 50 feet above sea level and dig a good bunker ……….. kills 2 birds with one stone (Cat5+ and earthquake)


killemwitdakno 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Y’all always need an example first huh.


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