The strong earthquake that struck the Chinese province of Sichuan this weekend killing more than 180 people is a reminder of the earthquake risks we face in Washington state. Geologists say it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ a major earthquake strikes our state.
A major problem that emergency planners face is how long should it take to rebuild infrastructure versus how long will it take? To get a picture of how well we are, or are not, prepared to recover from a large earthquake, DNR— home of the state’s geologic survey—worked with other members of the Washington State Seismic Safety Committee to publish the ‘Resilient Washington State’ report. The report contrasts optimum recovery times with best estimates of the reality. For example, hospitals in the greater Seattle area would need to be operational almost immediately after a major earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone, but in reality some facilities might be seriously damaged and stay offline for months. The Resilient Washington State’ report offers recommendations to improve statewide resilience to earthquakes and other disasters.
This article from Washington State Magazine shows the challenges we can expect to face in western Washington following a major earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone, which lies just off of our coast.
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