Earthquake rocks Venezuela; is it safe to travel?

On Tuesday evening, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck Venezuela, and the aftershocks of this natural disaster were felt across several neighbouring Caribbean islands. This earthquake is the largest to hit the South American county in over 100 years. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported as of yet.

The morning following the event, another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 hit the county, causing a secondary evacuation.

It is due to the depth of the earthquake that damage in Venezuela has been extremely limited. However, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised that travellers and tourists in the area should monitor local media, remain cautious, and follow any advice given to them by the local authorities in Venezuela and the surrounding areas affected by the earthquake.

It was reported that the quake was felt as far away as Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Grenada.

Initial reports only indicate damage to some buildings and communication networks; a sigh of relief considering the other earthquakes that have devastated some cities and countries in the past week.

The international airport in Bogota was briefly closed to inspect the runway for any damage following the earthquake, but all is well, and the airport opened back up quite quickly with only a couple of flight delays listed. As of today, it seems that everything should be fine for any travellers looking to get on flights back to their homes.

Following these earthquakes and aftershocks, the question on everyone’s mind is this: Is it safe to travel to the Caribbean?

In regard to travelling to the Caribbean by plane, tourists should be aware that all airports remain open and no flights have been affected since the initial closure of the international airport in Bogota; where, even then, there were no cancelled flights. Several spokespersons from various airlines spoke up to announce that no flights have been affected from either Virgin Atlantic or British Airways, among others.

Venezuela’s interior minister asked residents of Venezuela to remain calm in the face of these shocks to their county. He also confirmed that authorities are ready and on-hand to deal with any emergency that should arise during this time.

Despite the magnitude of the earthquake, damage is minimal. There is little structural damage, and reports incidents so far are very contained – broken windows, loose concrete falling from an unfinished building, and some internal damage to some stores. Overall, the earthquake seems to have affected daily life very little, and residence of Venezuela are remaining calm, but vigilant.

That isn’t to say that the event hasn’t affected the county. The shock of two notable earthquakes so close together has everyone on high alert.

Any travellers seeking to venture out into the Caribbean should remain alert and aware of their surroundings and keep a close eye on media reports from nearby cities to where they’ll be exploring. As always, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is happy to offer advice for travellers.


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