California ill-prepared for the Big One, say experts
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. –