Cal­i­for­nia ill-pre­pared for the Big One, say ex­perts

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BEYOND the sun­shine, the palm trees and Hol­ly­wood, if there is one cer­tainty in Cal­i­for­nia it’s that a mas­sive earth­quake will strike at some point.

But when the Big One hits, a re­cent re­port says, the west­ern state is ill-pre­pared, and lo­cal of­fi­cials as well as ma­jor busi­nesses need to face that re­al­ity to “pre­vent the in­evitable dis­as­ter from be­com­ing a catas­tro­phe”.

Drafted by a group of busi­ness and pol­icy lead­ers, the re­port iden­ti­fies sev­eral key ar­eas that need to be ad­dressed be­fore a quake as strong as mag­ni­tude 8 hap­pens, no­tably ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture, wa­ter sup­plies and the risk of cat­a­strophic fires.

One of the big­gest vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, the re­port states, re­lates to the Ca­jon Pass, a nar­row moun­tain pass where the mighty San An­dreas Fault in­ter­sects with key life­lines, in­clud­ing free­ways, rail­way lines, gas and pe­tro­leum pipe­lines as well as electric lines.

A ma­jor earth­quake on the San An­dreas would cut most life­lines in and out of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, pre­vent­ing crit­i­cal aid from reach­ing some 20 mil­lion peo­ple and ham­per­ing re­cov­ery ef­forts. –

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