The Alaskan city of Anchorage suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake last month. It could have resulted in terrible devastation. It could have caused the premature deaths of families, friends, and co-workers—like the disastrous outcomes in 1964.
Yet Anchorage emerged from the potential tragedy with zero casualties and an immense appreciation for proper city planning.
After the 9.2 magnitude earthquake in March, 1964 that killed 131 people, the residents and leaders of Anchorage knew a change was necessary.
The city was founded on a geological fault line, one capable of producing immense, and dangerous earthquakes. If they didn’t want to relocate the entire population, they needed to respond to the problems at hand, and quickly.
In lieu of displacing a significant portion of the town citizens, civil engineers and seismologists joined forces to create a city that could withstand the forces of future seismic events. They enacted proposals and regulations that limited the height of their buildings, delineated safe and unsafe areas for development, and systematically educated the populace as to the importance of these regulations, so that their measures would not become undone.
In truth, their foresight and efforts are to thank for the survival of the people of Anchorage. The fact that an earthquake of such magnitude can occur and result in zero casualties is a testament to the city designs they proposed, and according to an op-ed that was published by Charles Wohlforth in the Anchorage Daily News, the people who implemented these changes are true heroes.
“The 1964 Good Friday earthquake and the quake Friday had many differences, starting with the wonderful fact that no one died this time,” wrote Wohlforth. “But one thing is the same. Like every big earthquake, they taught us who is really in charge. To the extent we listen to that lesson, we can protect ourselves and those who come after us.”
Today, Anchorage is rebuilding its damaged infrastructure and their progress is impressive: roads that were almost completely destroyed are now fully operational after just a matter of days.
Perhaps their speedy recovery is because the Alaskans have been through this sort of natural disaster before, or maybe it’s because they have the helping hands of an unscathed population. Whatever the reason for their resilience may be, people are celebrating their literal ground-breaking response to the incident.
“Extraordinary that we had 0 casualties in this earthquake and only a few injuries,” Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski wrote in a Twitter post. “The resilience of Alaskans and our buildings is a testament to lessons learned from the ’64 quake and speaks to our level of preparedness.”
Extraordinary that we had 0 casualties in this earthquake & only a few injuries. The resilience of Alaskans & our buildings is a testament to lessons learned from the '64 quake & speaks to our level of preparedness. Repair crews are hard at work but we still have a ways to go. pic.twitter.com/i5PvvkAtYT— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) December 5, 2018
Be Sure And Share This Story With Your Friends On Social Media – Feature photo by Senator Lisa Murkowski