California sends earthquake response experts to Puerto Rico

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is sending 31 disaster specialists to Puerto Rico after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the island's southern coast on Saturday, the latest in a series of quakes over the past week that have toppled homes and schools and left more than 4,000 people in shelters.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the deployment comes in response to the Puerto Rican government's request for assistance.

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services says in a statement that the team will depart from Sacramento on Sunday and will spend 16 days working with emergency management and public safety officials there. The group consists of experts in incident and emergency management, engineering and safety assessment, planning, public information, debris management and crisis counseling.

Earlier this week, Newsom approved the deployment of four firefighters to assist with search and rescue operations.

The ground in southwest Puerto Rico has been shaking since Dec. 28, with more than 1,100 earthquakes, of which more than 100 were felt and more than 66 were of magnitude 3.5 or greater. Saturday's quake occurred four days after a 6.4 magnitude quake in the same area.