LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — On the eve of the Great ShakeOut a renowned U.S. Geological Survey seismologist updated Los Angeles officials Wednesday on ways the city can better prepare for an earthquake, and potential losses in the event of a quake.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports Dr. Lucy Jones spent the past year studying how a major seismic event would impact old buildings, the water supply and telecommunications links.READ MORE: Tournament Of Roses Parade Floats Go On Test Drive In Irwindale Saturday
Jones, who serves as Mayor Garcetti’s first Science Advisor for Seismic Safety, told the City Council a major earthquake could result in 1,800 people dead, 53,000 injured, and up to half of all buildings in the city unusable.
“We should expect the buildings that we had in in 1994, we’re going to have even more of them damaged when we have this earthquake if we don’t do something about it,” Jones told the City Council on Wednesday morning.
The city could also face a knocked-out power grid and possibly no water supply for as long as six months if a Katrina-level catastrophe were to hit L.A.
“How long are you willing to stay if you haven’t had a shower in a month,” Jones asked.
Jones also pointed to the recent rash of water main breaks at the UCLA campus in Westwood, along Sunset Boulevard and other parts of L.A. to illustrate what could potentially happen in the aftermath of a major temblor.
“We all saw what happened on Sunset Boulevard. Imagine 300 of those on the same day,” she said.
Upgrading the infrastructure will take money and time.READ MORE: Average LA County Gas Prices Up $1.19 From Last Year: AAA
“We’re looking at different packages that could be put together to assist not only the city in retrofitting its buildings, but the public as well,” Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Eileen Decker told KCAL9’s Kaj Goldberg.
In her closing remarks to the council on Wednesday, Jones shared the stark reality facing the city.
“We can’t try to prevent all losses,” she told the council. “What we’re trying to do is make it that we are resilient enough that we can get the pieces back together quickly.”
State Sen. Alex Padilla also met with state emergency officials Wednesday to get an update on the progress of an estimated $80 million earthquake early warning system that could give millions of Californians seconds of warning before a powerful temblor strikes.
The Los Angeles Democrat convened a hearing at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday that was attended by geology and transportation experts and representatives from the utility, health care, and water sectors.
Padilla has been spearheading efforts to build an early warning system since Gov. Jerry Brown last year ordered his Office of Emergency Services to develop such a system by 2016 and identify sources of funding for it. An early-warning system would cost an estimated $80 million.
The annual “Great ShakeOut” is set for Thursday morning at 10:16 a.m., when earthquake drills are scheduled across the Southland.MORE NEWS: One Killed, One Injured In Traffic Crash On Freeway In Santa Ana
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