Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–February 2, 2016. Today, Congressman Peter DeFazio spoke at the White House Earthquake Resilience Summit on the need for earthquake early warning systems and earthquake-resilient technologies.
Organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council, the summit featured local government officials and experts from the academic and business communities, including the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
At the summit, DeFazio highlighted a recent Congressional delegation trip to Japan, where he got a first-hand look at Japan’s earthquake-resilient infrastructure and the extensive early earthquake warning system (EEW) in place.
“The question is not if, but when the next major earthquake will hit the Pacific Northwest,” said DeFazio. “Preparation will save lives, reduce injuries, and minimize infrastructure damage. Not only does Japan have the most advanced EEW system in the world, but it has also invested heavily in earthquake preparedness and earthquake-resilient infrastructure, including a response and recovery headquarters in case of a major quake. We need to offer Oregonians the same basic protections.”
DeFazio has long stressed the importance of earthquake preparedness and an earthquake early warning system that would send alerts before a potentially catastrophic earthquake. An early warning system can send alerts to trigger automatic shutdowns of trains, close bridges, and call for any necessary evacuations. A warning of seconds or minutes can have significant impact by alerting citizens of the need to take appropriate action when an earthquake occurs.
Oregon is at increased risk for a catastrophic earthquake due to its location in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from northern California up into British Columbia, is the mirror image of the subduction zone off the coast of Japan that caused the magnitude nine earthquake and resulting tsunami in 2011. The last earthquake caused by the Cascadia Subduction zone was in 1700 and evidence suggests it was at least an 8.7 magnitude quake.
A catastrophic earthquake would have devastating effects in Oregon, with thousands of and deaths and injuries, as well as an estimated $32 billion in infrastructure and economic damages, predicted.
In July, DeFazio secured a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) grant that dedicated $4 million to help support an early earthquake warning system operated by four universities, including the University of Oregon.
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