'The bed was shaking': Delaware man living in Puerto Rico recounts biggest earthquake in century

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Cars, cots and plastic chairs became temporary beds for hundreds of families who lost their homes in southwest Puerto Rico as a flurry of earthquakes struck the island, one of them the strongest in a century.

The magnitude 6.4 quake that struck before dawn on Tuesday killed one person, injured nine others and knocked out power across the U.S. territory. More than 250,000 Puerto Ricans remained without water on Wednesday and another half a million without power, which also affected telecommunications.

The hardest hit municipality was the southwest coastal town of Guánica. More than 200 people had taken shelter in a gymnasium after a quake on Monday, only for the latest shake to damage that structure - forcing them to sleep outside.

Kevin Melloy divides his time between Delaware and Puerto Rico where he owns an art gallery. He was waking up very early Tuesday morning when the strong earthquake struck.

"The bed was shaking and I heard this really, really loud, really intense - which was the earthquake - just the seismic activity I guess, it was just everything outside was shaking. And within seconds all the dogs in the neighborhood started barking and then it just went click and all the electric went out."

Melloy flew home to Delaware hours after the quake. He plans to return to Puerto Rico in February.

He says the people there are very resilient, but, right now, they need help.

Tuesday's quake was the strongest to hit Puerto Rico since October 1918, when a magnitude 7.3 quake struck near the island's northwest coast, unleashing a tsunami and killing 116 people.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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