The Nisqually Earthquake Sets Records For Washington State

Main Content
Release date: 
June 19, 2001
Release Number: 
1361-82

Olympia, WA -- Almost four months have passed since the Nisqually Earthquake rumbled through Washington, leaving record-setting property damages that residents and businesses would continue to discover for weeks to come.

The most costly Washington disaster previous to this earthquake was the winter flooding of 1996. As a result of that event, 11,998 people registered and received a total of $85 million in Individual Assistance, including:

  • $16.8 million in grants from the FEMA Temporary Disaster Housing Program,
  • $7.3 million in grants from the Washington State Individual and Family Grant Program, and
  • $61 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Since the Nisqually Earthquake, more than 35,500 individuals have registered for state and federal assistance. As of close of business June 17, $104.87 million has been approved to assist applicants under the Individual Assistance programs, including:

  • $44.1 million in grants from the FEMA Temporary Disaster Housing Program,
  • $2.47 million in grants from the Washington State Individual and Family Grant Program, and
  • $57.7 million in low-interest loans from the SBA.

Total federal/state disaster recovery costs for the earthquake are now estimated at $322 million. In contrast, total assistance for the 1996 flood-recovery operation is $206.3 million, with only a few projects still remaining to be completed.

"We have seen a record number of applicants with this disaster," said State Coordinating Officer Diane Offord. "The damages haven't been immediately apparent, but they were there. People just kept finding cracks, shifted foundations and chimney damage. This event was huge for Washington State."

As people begin to rebuild, federal and state officials urge them to consider taking measures now to protect themselves from the next earthquake.

"We've seen with this disaster how earthquakes can impact buildings, and the effects aren't always seen right away," said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Lokey. "But we do know those who took measures ahead of time suffered far less damage than those who did not. As the recent 5.0 temblor shows us, another earthquake could happen at any time, so to be safe, we need to prepare now."

Anyone in the 22 declared counties whose property was damaged in the Feb. 28 earthquake has until June 30 to apply for assistance from state and federal programs. The deadline is only two weeks away. Call 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) to register with FEMA. Those who have already registered but have questions about their application should call the Helpline at 1-800-525-0321.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Related Disaster: 
Back to Top