Social Aspects Of The Northridge Earthquake

Tierney, Kathleen J.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Disaster Research Center
By any standard, the Northridge earthquake was one of the most costly and damaging disasters in U. S. history. When all the claims are finally processed, the costs of repairing earthquake damage and providing relief to victims are expected to exceed $20 billion. The assistance effort launched after the Northridge earthquake was the largest ever undertaken for a U. S. disaster; in the four month period following the earthquake, approximately 556,000 applications for assistance were filed by community residents and business proprietors who suffered earthquake-related losses. Up until that time, the previous high for applications received was 304,000 for Humcane Hugo in 1989, which included victims in the states of North and South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands. The number of disaster-related claims filed and the amounts disbursed through various disaster assistance programs have been truly unprecedented. As of the end of October, 1994, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had received 519,000 applications for disaster housing assistance and had issued approximately 430,000 checks totaling $1.86 billion. Approximately 179,600 households had applied to the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for loans to cover home repairs; of this number, about 88,300 loans had been approved, and $2.2 billion in loan funds had been disbursed to homeowners. Nearly 300,000 households had applied for FEMA's Individual and Family Grant program, which provides aid to households that do not qualify for disaster assistance loan programs. About 51,200 businesses had applied for SBA loans to cover direct earthquake damage or the losses associated with business interruption, and $1.32 billion in loans had been paid out. The earthquake did extensive damage to public buildings, roads and bridges, and water control facilities; as of the end of October, $1.86 billion had been obligated to cover the cost of earthquake-related repairs to publicly-owned facilities.'
Northridge Earthquake , social aspects , FEMA