Earthquake Strikes Off Martinique

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Thursday afternoon in the ocean floor 13 miles northwest of Martinique was felt from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago, but no serious damage to any island's tourism infrastructure was reported. The Martinique Promotion Bureau reported that the island's hotels and tourist facilities were unscathed, and Aime Cesaire International Airport was open and operating normally. Reports from such resorts as Cap Est Lagoon, Club Med Buccaneer's Creek, Sofitel Bakoua and the Bateliere Hotel indicated no damage. The island was working Friday on cleaning up debris and restoring full electrical and telephone service. Communication with the island is possible via cell phones.

Due to the quake's magnitude, "we were expecting much worse," said a tourist board spokesperson, "but because the quake was centered so deep in the sea bed--about 90 miles--it really lessened the impact."

In Trinidad and Tobago, power and phone service went out briefly in some places and office buildings in Port of Spain were temporarily evacuated. But no fatalities or injuries had been reported Friday, and authorities were reporting minimal damage. (JP)