November 30th Earthquake was Alaska’s Largest Natural Disaster Since 1964

The Nov. 30, 2018 Earthquake was Alaska’s largest natural disaster since the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. The 7.1 earthquake shook Alaska’s most densely populated area and caused damage to homes, roads, public buildings, utilities, and other critical infrastructure. State and Federal Disaster Declarations activated disaster recovery programs.

More than $130 million in state and federal Disaster Recovery Assistance has been provided to Alaskans impacted by the earthquake.

“This earthquake caused significant damages over a vast geographic area. The State of Alaska worked closely with FEMA to ensure that each and every disaster recovery program delivered the maximum amount of assistance possible,” said DHS&EM Director Mike Sutton. “This was the largest disaster the State of Alaska has encountered since the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake.”

In total, 4,333 individuals and households received assistance under the Individual and Household Program (IHP). FEMA approved more than $26.2 million under IHP and the Small Business Administration provided nearly $72.9 million in loans. More than $31.7 million has been approved, or set aside for, loans to small businesses, Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding, and Public Assistance grants to repair critical infrastructure.

“While the damage was widespread, we did not suffer a single death or major injury from the earthquake. For that we are extremely grateful,” said Sutton. “Building standards, emergency preparedness, and Alaskan resiliency all contributed to lives saved. However, Alaskans cannot be complacent. The next big earthquake could happen at any time. We must always strive to prepare for the next big disaster.”

FEMA and the State agreed to a 75%/25% cost share agreement. The State of Alaska will fund a portion of the IHP, HMGP, and Public Assistance programs. The Public Assistance program is designed to help communities, government organizations, and certain non-profits make repairs to utilities, public buildings, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure damaged by the declared event. It is estimated that the total cost of all Public Assistance damages will be more than $275 million. The Public Assistance funding process will take place over the course of several years.

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