Earthquake Response: Intergovernmental Structure and Policy Innovation

Nigg, Joanne M.
Eisner, Richard K.
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Disaster Research Center
The Northridge earthquake is the most costly, damaging earthquake in the history of the United States. Over 11,800 people received hospital treatment for earthquake-related injuries in the three-county area shaken by the quake--Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange--and 57 people died. Approximately 114,039 structures were damaged by the quake, 14,500 receiving either a red or yellow tag from building inspectors. These damaged structures contained over 100,000 housing units; 30,000 of which were vacated or had significant structural damage, and another 30,000 were deemed at risk of being removed from the building stock because of the expense of repairs (Comerio 1995). According to estimates from the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) in January, 1996, approximately $25 billion in losses due to damaged structures and their contents had occurred5. FEMA set aside over $12 billion to be used for claims for all types of assistance to disaster victims and communities. As of December, 1995, 681,710 applications for state and federal assistance had been received, more than double the amount in any previous single U.S. disaster. The previous record for applications was 304,369 following Hurricane Hugo which struck the Carolinas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 1989.
earthquake , emergency response , disaster recovery , public policy