Azorean people in Bermuda fear natural disaster in homeland
Worried Azoreans in Bermuda are keeping a close eye on their homeland after São Jorge island continued to suffer thousands of earth tremors – a signal that a major earthquake or volcanic eruption could be on the way.
The island has been shaken by thousands of small seismic tremors over the past two weeks which has heightened fears and led to partial evacuations of affected areas.
Richard Ambrosio, the chairman of the Portuguese Cultural Association and the president of the Vasco Da Gama Club, said that tremors were routine for the area, but the level of activity was a worry.
Mr Ambrosio added: “Seismic activity in the Azores is almost like a daily occurrence, the authorities are vigilant and always monitoring activity.
“However, the frequency and increasing intensity in São Jorge is outside of the range of what is considered normal, so much so that they are taking out patients close to the activity and transporting them to other hospitals and health clinics, and are ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
“So far there haven’t been serious orders of evacuation – we see it on the news and are following it with great interest and concern.”
Mr Ambrosio said that people from the Azores in Bermuda were mostly from islands unaffected by the scare.
He said: “The reality is the vast majority of Bermudians from the Azores are from the main island of São Miguel and others are from Santa Maria Island and Terceira, but São Jorge is a fellow islands and we don’t want to see any harm come to it.”
Mr Ambrosio was speaking after the region’s Civisa seismo-volcanic surveillance centre said there had been more the 20,000 small earthquakes in the past 11 days – the strongest recorded on Tuesday, which had a magnitude of 3.8.
The last Bermuda census, held in 2016, showed that there were 1,328 people Azores-born people in Bermuda.
José Manuel Bolieiro, the president of the Azores, a mid-Atlantic island chain and autonomous region of Portugal, said the epicentre of the tremors were recorded on the 95-square mile São Jorge and not out at sea.
Cracks are being created in the rock which could lead to a volcanic eruption if the magma made its way to the surface.
Vulnerable members of the public are being evacuated from Velas in the west of the island, where most of the seismic activity has taken place.
A total of ten people were killed after a major earthquake hit Faial Island in 1998 – the last major earthquake recorded.
The last volcanic eruption was in 1957, also in Faial.