Surviving The Big One

How federal agencies would respond during an earthquake

Surviving The Big One

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — When a catastrophic earthquake hits, the Federal Emergency Management agency says its primary role will be to save lives.

“There will be a large number of people that will be displaced, that will need shelter, will need food need water,” said Alex Amparo with FEMA.

Amparo, the assistant administrator for national preparedness with FEMA, says the agency tries to plan ahead to provide support.

Preparing for an earthquake is especially tricky, because when it comes to natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes, there are seasons when they tend to be more prevalent. But as they say at FEMA – everyday can be earthquake season.

FEMA can fund some of the recovery costs after a disaster declaration.  

“That road bridge or building would be eligible for reimbursement of repairs,” Amparo said.

But not everyone will qualify for FEMA funding.

Alex Contreras says that’s where the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance comes in.

“We provide low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and private non profit organizations after a declared disaster event,” he said.

Disaster loans are low interest even though they’re likely high risk.

“You’re trying to get a loan against your home that you know, could be completely destroyed,” he said.

Federal agencies say aid is meant to cover uninsured losses but that having private insurance is still the best protection. 

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