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Report: LA Quake Would Cause “Significant Disruption of Inter-Dependent Infrastructure…Transportation, Gas and Electricity Supplies, Sewage Systems, Water…”

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shtfplan.com / Mac Slavo / December 11th, 2013

Tens of millions of Americans depend on the stable functioning of infrastructure systems like transportation, utility services, food delivery and communications. Without them modern society comes to a standstill. The U.S. government, under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local emergency teams, has spent billions of dollars to ensure operability of these essential societal nodes in the event of an emergency, but for some parts of the country, it may not be enough. A report from the US Geological Survey (USGS), a research arm of the federal government, indicates that the West Coast of the United States, namely those areas directly on or in the vicinity of fault lines, is not equipped to deal with a wide scale emergency that would directly impact these infrastructure systems.

The threat is a high-magnitude earthquake, something most Americans living in these areas assume will not have a significant impact on their lives because of building codes and existing disaster response plans implemented by government emergency planners. Many residents of these areas have become complacent because previous earthquakes, while damaging, didn’t adversely affect their day-to-day lives.

The earthquakes that struck San Francisco in 1989 and Los Angeles in 1994 measured 6.9 and 6.7 on the Richter scale respectively. Hundreds of buildings in both cities collapsed in their aftermath, with nearly ten times as many being “red flagged” as uninhabitable. Neither of these quakes were strong enough to affect the underlying infrastructure on a widespread scale. Life continued on as if nothing had happened following the initial destruction. According to the USGS, there have been over 120 earthquakes measuring in this range – between 6.0 and 6.9 on the Richter scale – in 2013, so they’re not uncommon.

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