“There is a very expressive window in terms of scenarios, from when nothing happens to a very serious situation, there is a wide spectrum of scenarios, [but] the situation is, at the moment, apparently more stabilised”, declared the Secretary of State for the Internal Administration, Patricia Gaspar.

The official added that there was “a plan developed in 2018, a specific plan for intervention in the Azores in the event of an earthquake, which allows for the mobilisation of a series of means, whether in the area of ​​health, or in the area of ​​search and rescue in collapsed structures”.

“Whatever is needed in practice can be mobilised through this plan,” she added.

“We are monitoring the situation and if there is a need and if the regional Civil Protection service of the Azores makes this request, the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority , in conjunction with the other agents, can quickly compose a joint operational force”, said Patrícia Gaspar.

She added: "Let's hope that's not the case."

The island of São Jorge has recorded more than 14,000 earthquakes, around 200 of which were felt by the population, since the beginning of the seismic crisis on March 19, according to the most recent official data.

The number of registered earthquakes is more than double the total recorded in the entire autonomous region of the Azores during the year 2021.

About 2,500 people have already left the municipality of Velas, the centre of the seismic crisis, of which 1,500 by air and sea, and the rest to the neighbouring municipality of Calheta, which is considered to be safer by experts.

The island is at volcanic alert level V4 (threat of eruption) out of a total of seven, where V0 stands for “rest state” and V6 “eruption in progress”.