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|February 21, 2019|
7.8 California earthquake could displace more than 200,000 people
SAN FRANCISCO - If an earthquake similar to the one in 1906 shook the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly 69,000 houses would likely be uninhabitable and more than 200,000 people could be displaced, according to a new report.
The study from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is intended to raise awareness around the devastation a major earthquake could cause and looks at 16 different scenarios along the many faults in the region using a hazard tool from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Dana Brechwald, a regional resilience planner with ABAG, says the most important message from the study is that the entire region and its older structures are vulnerable to earthquakes, and cities need to prepare.
"The hope is cities will join the ranks of Berkeley and San Francisco and enact mandatory retrofit ordinances to reduce the amount of housing loss we'll see," Brechwald says.
The worst possible scenario the study looks at is a 7.8 shaker on the San Andreas Fault. The USGS predicts the San Andreas fault has a 22 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or greater by 2043.
"We don't have the capacity to house this many displaced residents in our community," says Brechwald. "It would alter the population of the Bay Area. I think a lot of people would leave and a lot of people would not return."
The agency released a similar study in 2003 and Brechwald says the update provides similar findings.
"None of this information is new," Brechwald says. "We just renew it every few years. The public forgets. It's important to keep this in the public consciousness. We're trying to make the link between this knowledge and getting homeowners to retrofit their homes. That requires constant refreshing and re-messaging." (Source: The San Francisco Chronicle)
Story Date: February 26, 2018