March 7, 2021

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Puerto Rico Seismic Network recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (RSPR), attached to the Department of Geology of the Mayagüez Campus (RUM), of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), will receive recognition from the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Caribbean Division (AAAS-CD), during its annual meeting, which will take place later this month.

The organization’s board, whose mission is to support the development of science, engineering and innovation in the Caribbean environment, unanimously decided to “honor and celebrate” the PRSN for its commitment to the community.

“This dedication is very representative, in this year that the communities in the world have gone through great difficulty, especially Puerto Rico, after the seismic events that coincide with the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network, as part of the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, is a reliable entity to obtain information and leadership, and like most public entities it is struggling, however, it has never failed the people of Puerto Rico, being one of the most impactful and resilient institutions in the region “, indicated in a letter the doctor Filipa Godoy Vitorino, president of the AAAS-CD.

Under the title Beyond Resilience: Building a Strong Caribbean, the annual conference will take place on October 23 and 24 virtually. The doctor Victor Huérfano Moreno, director of the PRSN, will participate in the event as one of the speakers, in a presentation in which he will offer a historical account of the Network and its expectations for the future.

“For the staff of the Network this is good news that validates the best effort we make, since we are very dedicated to the work that we have been entrusted and we owe ourselves to the island. Our reason for being is that the population is well prepared and we do everything possible to achieve the island’s resilience ”, said Huérfano Moreno, who has worked in the entity since 1991 and began directing it in 2010, after being an associate director since 2004.

In fact, prior to this date, its director was the teacher Christa von Hillebrandt Andrade, who now directs the Caribbean Tsunami Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Something I learned from Christa is that the point that makes the difference of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, in relation to other similar entities in other countries, is the commitment to the population. We do not limit ourselves to the scientific and purely technical part, but since the time when Christa was director we have been moving to share knowledge with the public. The technical or scientific work usually stays in the laboratory, so what we do has to be with a view to preparing people. That is what we intend, to minimize damage, save lives and improve the standard of living ”, said the scientist.

Precisely, the director of the PRSN highlighted that the teamwork and commitment of each of the human resources that work there make possible the development path of the entity, whose mission is to detect, process and investigate the seismic activity of the region of Puerto Rico and promptly report the results for public safety, education, engineering and scientific research purposes.

“It is a beautiful and useful project, not only for the Colegio de Mayagüez, but it also transcends Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the United States. I recently had the opportunity to give a presentation at the Congress and I realized that they know us even there. Also at the top of NOAA, Christa’s work is acknowledged. That places us, not only in the west and within the Campus, but also at the national level; The Network has a great recognition that we could also say worldwide, because we have been part of the UNESCO Tsunami Program, and Dr. Vancore is our delegate at the Caribbean level, within the United Nations Program, so this is recognized contribution of the Seismic Network, not only at a regional level, but at a global level ”, he pointed out.

Regarding the seismic sequence reported on the island this year, he commented that it validates the importance of information and preparation.

“From this experience that we had to live in 2020, I think we have to learn so that our children and grandchildren do not have to go through the same thing and that past generations have already lived in 1918. There are similarities between the two experiences, with a lot of damage to infrastructure, social situations, uncertainty, emotional problems, a pandemic. History is repeating itself, the tremors, the pandemic, even the situation experienced. I think it should lead us to reflect that the next time we live, it should not go through the same six-month wait to demolish the houses that were damaged, we must repair and improve. We cannot limit ourselves to rebuilding, we have to improve, if we have a prepared population, a ready government, we should not have to experience this situation. An emergency teaches us that it is not only to prepare for the before and during, we must also prepare for the after “, reflected on what happened in Guánica and the southern area.

The PRSN operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has a workforce of 24 non-teaching employees, two full-time professors, and one part-time, as well as 14 students.

For the University of Puerto Rico, it is an honor to host such a prestigious entity that combines scientific excellence with community integration.

Similarly, the rector of the RUM, Agustín Rullán Toro, congratulated the work team of the Network, whose effort makes it possible for citizens to be constantly oriented.

“Neither hurricanes, nor pandemic, nor earthquakes, nothing has stopped the strong commitment of those who work in the Seismic Network. On behalf of the school family, we congratulate them for such a titanic effort that pays off every day. We are grateful and honored for the recognition of AAAS-CD, which validates years of constant work and the main role that the Network has on the island and worldwide. Congratulations!”, expressed the rector.

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