GARY WARNER Oregon Bureau of Capital
Amid a pandemic that has claimed more than 4.9 million lives worldwide, dozens of countries are taking the time Thursday to prepare for another mass killer: earthquakes.
The âGreat ShakeOutâ is a global earthquake exercise that will take place at 10:21 am.
â¢ Drop onto your hands and knees
â¢ Cover your head and neck
â¢ Crawl to a nearby sturdy desk or table
â¢ Hold until the shaking stops.
About 500,000 Oregon residents have registered to participate this year, according to the Oregon Emergency Management Office.
âUnderstanding what to do in the first moments after a disaster can make the difference between being a survivor and a victim,â OEM director Andrew Phelps said in a statement released before the event.
One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has made people around the world more sensitive to a proactive “culture of preparedness.”
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International organizers say they are aware of the additional challenges of thinking about and preparing for earthquakes amid the coronavirus natural disaster which is approaching its two-year anniversary in December.
âWhile COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainties and challenges, one thing is for sure, ShakeOut is still happening,â an announcement said.
The exercise is a recall in Oregon of a possible Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake on a 680-mile fault in the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia to northern California.
The 9.0 earthquake would kill up to 10,000 people in Oregon – half of the victims dying in tsunamis that flooded the coast, state studies show.
Up to 25,000 people could die from Vancouver, Canada, to Fort Bragg, Calif., According to The Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup, a nonprofit that includes governments, businesses, communities and other working groups. on a regional disaster recovery study.
In Oregon, more than 85,000 buildings could be destroyed, estimates the state. West of the Cascades, much of the infrastructure of the modern world would collapse: communication, water, sewer and electrical systems would fail. Hospitals would be destroyed. Roads and airports west of the Cascades would likely be unusable.
Even traveling by boat with rescue supplies to the coast would be in danger of debris and being hit by post-tsunami.
The Cascade Mountains would act as a natural “firewall” against the earthquake, with damage east of the peaks light to moderate at worst.
Oregon officials have designated Bend as the nearest major population area to stage rescue and recovery efforts and reestablish state government.
With its runways likely intact or relatively easy to repair, Redmond Airport would be the site of refueling airlifts and emergency response teams that would then be transported by helicopter to help victims west.
The Cascadia earthquake would likely leave large areas isolated for weeks, while repairs would take several years. The official price for state repair and recovery is $ 40 billion.
The magnitude of an earthquake threat in Oregon is a relatively recent discovery.
Beginning in the 1980s, geological studies, Native American oral traditions, and careful recordings of Japanese tides led to an estimate that the last 9.0 earthquake occurred in January 1700.
Subsequent studies of the deep rift indicate that there have been up to 41 major earthquakes along the area, distributed at varying intervals, but averaging about one every 500 years.
With geologic time sequences measured in centuries and decades instead of hours and minutes, the 321 years since the 1700 earthquake put Oregon today within the parameters of the next earthquake.
The state aims to get every resident to create an emergency plan, including collecting water, food, medicine and other necessities for two weeks. Not only will this be useful in the event of an earthquake, but also storms, floods and other natural disasters.
Shakeout.org, based at the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, contains information on earthquakes and exercises around the world.
For more information on Oregon’s participation: shakeout.org/oregon/