Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan earthquake: A warning to Angelenos to prepare for the next Big One - latimes.com


Japan earthquake: A warning to Angelenos to prepare for the next Big One - latimes.com

As many of us watched the coverage of the Sendai earthquake and tsunami in Japan on Friday, we were staggered and horrified by the images of death and destruction. The magnitude 8.9 quake is the largest to hit Japan in more than 150 years and the seventh largest in recorded history. The tsunami produced even greater damage and loss of life. The final figures won't be known for many days, yet it seems clear that hundreds and possibly thousands of people are dead, injured or missing, and the economic toll will be in the millions. The quake will have a severe effect on the Japanese economy, the third largest in the world, and it is already having a global effect.

The Sendai quake is a warning and a reminder that we Angelenos live in earthquake country too.

It's not a question of whether we're due for a catastrophic quake, but when. Although California building codes are among the most stringent in the United States (thanks to what the 1933 Long Beach quake, which destroyed nearly all of our unreinforced masonry buildings), they don't begin to match the standards demanded in Japan.

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