The US is getting ready for a massive earthquake that is expected to hit its west coast. It is believed that this one will be worst ever natural disaster.
In just a few days major rehearsals will take place by disaster officials, the emergency services, and military, in a bid to face what will happen when an overdue major earthquake strikes.
The massive earthquake and tsunami readiness drill has been developed by the US government, military, and state and local emergency managers over several years to test if they are ready for what is expected to be the country’s worst ever natural disaster when it comes.
And it is a case of when, not if.
The exercise from June 7 to 10 is called Cascadia Rising or even the “Doomsday Drill”.
This is in reference to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault line off the west coast from Northern California to British Columbia.
Scientists agree that the area is due major seismic activity and that a “big one” magnitude eight or greater earthquake is overdue by about 80 years.
Lt Col Clayton Braun of the Washington State National Guard, said: “This is the largest exercise ever for a Cascadia break.”
Around 20,000 people will take part in the dry run of the disaster that could affect millions of people. The major exercise will test how well agencies work together to minimise loss of life. Such an earthquake would likely trigger a huge tsunami to crash towards the coast.
More than eight million people live in the area that would be affected, including Seattle and Portland, and Interstate 5, one of the US’s busiest roads.
Experts already fear the amount of expected deaths will overwhelm emergency services. Bridges and roads could be destroyed, with fuel supplies and communications disrupted.
Next week Washington State National Guardsmen will landing on Vashon Island to rehearse delivery of supplies. Tests will include pulling people from rubble at a simulated collapsed building.