Recent Spate of Earthquakes Unrelated But Emergency Officials Say Prepare as Though They Were

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Release date: 
October 27, 1999
Release Number: 
R10-99-65

Seattle, Wash. -- Earthquakes shattered whole cities in Turkey last August, hammered Mexico and savaged communities in Taiwan. Closer to home, September witnessed sizeable earthquakes from Mississippi to Alaska. October's 7.4 Californian temblor derailed train cars and left deep scars in the thankfully unpopulated desert terrain. The California quake continues to make itself felt through aftershocks, now in the thousands. According to FEMA deputy regional director Tammy Doherty, the recent spate of headline-grabbing quakes may not presage Armageddon, but they certainly signal a need for serious disaster preparedness plans, kits and precautions.

"Earthquakes happen all the time and predictions are at best imprecise. While seismologists generally agree that these quakes are unrelated, they certainly serve to remind all of us of seismic faults which weaken Pacific Northwest coastlines, and reach into Idaho and eastern Oregon," said Doherty. "One of FEMA's toughest jobs is educating the public about emergency preparedness and pre-disaster mitigation.

"Last year FEMA provided billions of dollars in disaster relief for floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters. Insurers lost billions more. People lost homes, belongings and keepsakes that can never be replaced.

"If these quakes are unrelated, they do teach a related message," insists Doherty. "The time to take protective action is before disaster strikes."

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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