A powerful earthquake on the South Coast of B.C. could kill several hundred people, force thousands out of their homes for more than a year, and destroy many businesses — and that’s just in the District of North Vancouver, according to a new report.
The report lays out a sobering scenario, detailing what might happen if a 7.3-magnitude earthquake stuck in the centre of the Strait of Georgia.
It warns several hundred people could die in the quake, 2,000 would need immediate care, more than 1,300 people could be out of their homes for a year or more.
In addition to the shaking, land slides and liquefaction could occur, electricity and water service would be cut in half and some main roads would be left unusable. The quake alone could cost the district $3 billion in economic losses.
Are you prepared?
Mayor Richard Walton said the comprehensive study is meant to be a wake-up call and urges people to prepare emergency kits and grab-and-go bags, and think about what they might need after a major earthquake.
“Are you prepared with the simple basics, in terms of knowing where to go, having adequate food and water that may sustain you for a week?” he said.
“If it’s in winter and your source of heat goes out, do you have the flashlight batteries, do you have the candles? Simple things that [you would need] if you have to go back to a rudimentary lifestyle for a week.”
Even opening cans would be a problem for those that have switched to electric can openers, said Walton.
“I think the work we’re doing — we’ve got to do for the next five or ten years now — is to try and develop ways of increasing awareness and getting people to think, not only kids in schools, but now we’ve got to move out into the residential and business community, and get people prepared.”
Last week two earthquakes rattled British Columbia late Thursday and early Friday morning, but they didn’t cause any damage.
Then on Saturday a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal, killing more than 5,000 and leaving tens of thousands homeless.