Two Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility participants, Dominica and Saint Lucia, will likely receive a payment

A major earthquake struck the eastern Caribbean at 3pm local time on 29 November.

The current USGS estimate, based on the global data set, places the quake epicentre immediately north of Martinique with a hypocentral depth of around 145 km (90 miles).

The current source magnitude estimate is 7.4 (Mw, or moment magnitude).

There have been a number of aftershocks recorded, with at least three having source magnitudes of around 5. All are occurring at similar depth to the main shock.

Due to the combination of magnitude and depth, this event was felt extremely widely but was not particularly damaging to areas close to the epicentre.

Felt reports have been documented from Bogota, Colombia across northern South America to French Guiana and to the north throughout the northern Caribbean from Jamaica eastwards.

Peak shaking intensities of VII were experienced in southern Martinique and northern Saint Lucia; as can be seen on the MMI map, the peak shaking is offset southwards from the epicentral location of the quake.

Damage reports have been received from Trinidad northwards to Dominica. A number of buildings in Kingstown, St Vincent, in Roseau, Dominica and in Bridgetown, Barbados have been damaged, with cracks, fallen tiles and masonry being the main signs.

More severe damage is reported for some buildings in Castries, Saint Lucia and in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Provisional calculations by Caribbean Risk Managers Ltd, in their role as Supervisor of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, suggest that two CCRIF Participants, Dominica and Saint Lucia, will likely receive a payment from the facility, the quake having been of sufficient magnitude to trigger their parametric policies.

"If any payments are triggered, they will be the first claims under the CCRIF," said a Caribbean Risk Managers spokesperson.