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Puerto Rico has weathered 500 earthquakes in two weeks. How does it rebuild?

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People help shop owners remove supplies from Ely Mer Mar hardware store, which partially collapsed after an earthquake struck Guanica, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing one man, injuring others and collapsing buildings in the southern part of the island. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

In the past two weeks, Puerto Rico has weathered more than 500 earthquakes, and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the shaking isn’t over yet.

The largest two quakes, magnitude 5.8 and 6.7, struck within a 24-hour period earlier this week, killing one person, collapsing buildings, and knocking out power across the island. The quakes, which were centered just off the southwestern shore of the island, were the strongest to hit Puerto Rico in over a century.

“People are just sleeping outdoors,” says Stephen Flynn, the founding director of Northeastern’s Global Resilience Institute, who was in Puerto Rico this week to discuss ways to help the island bounce back from natural disasters. “They’re too nervous to go back into their homes.”

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