New Study: Earthquake Losses

Did you feel the swarm of nine 2.5 to 4.0 quakes in Truckee two days ago?

FEMA just released their study, FEMA P-366, Hazus Estimated Annualized Earthquake Losses for the United States (PDF version). Of interest to us in California:

The new Hazus study indicates the following key findings:

  • The Annualized Earthquake Loss (AEL) to the national building stock is $6.1 billion.
  • The majority (73 percent) of AEL occurs on the west coast (i.e., California, Oregon, and Washington).
  • Approximately 61 percent ($3.7 billion) of the AEL is concentrated in Structural and non-structural losses account for 18 percent and 82 percent of the building loss in AEL breakdown for California.

While all 50 states are subject to earthquake losses (Minnesota and North Dakota estimated to have the lowest loss ratios at under $1M), California weighs heavily in both losses ($3.7T) and loss ratios (Puerto Rico and Alaska have higher loss ratios; we’re all near $1B). Here’s a map from the report showing loss ratios by county:

map of US, AELR by county (color coded)Surprising, isn’t it? Residents of many states don’t see their homes as vulnerable to earthquakes, but the USGS earthquakes map shows that quakes happen all over.

What worries me is our current administration’s posture toward natural disasters. How a community and state recovers from a serious quake will depend a great deal on its citizen response.

Got your go-bag ready? These links to ready.gov might be helpful. Don’t forget to include a bag for your pets!

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