A report by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission warns that the Pacific Northwest will have a monster earthquake and tsunami in the future, killing more than 10,000.
They say it is not a question of “if,” but when.
As coastal towns disappear and schools, buildings and bridges collapse, the economic damage might hit $32 billion.
The study was authorized by Legislature in 2011 to determine what would happen if a quake and tsunami, like the one in Japan, hit the Pacific Northwest.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone produced a large quake in the year 1700, and experts say another one is long overdue.
“This earthquake will hit us again,” Kent Yu, an engineer and chairman of the commission, said. “It’s just a matter of how soon.”
After it hits, they speculate that devastation and death will spread from Northern California to British Columbia.
And because Oregon is not prepared, they believe many communities in the state will be left without water, power, heat and telephone service.
Legislators in Oregon asked for the study so they could determine what needs to be done to prepare for the natural disaster.
In the report, they said that Oregon and Japan are mirror images geologically. Though there was great devastation in Japan after the tsunami, they said the country was more prepared than Oregon because it spent billions on technology to reduce damage.
Maree Wacker, chief executive of the American Red Cross of Oregon, said it is important for people to start their own plans for natural disasters.
“Oregonians as individuals are under-prepared,” she said.