More Than 100 Anchorage Buildings Deemed Unsafe to Enter After Quake

December 14, 2018

More than 100 homes and buildings in the Anchorage, Alaska, area have been found unsafe to enter because of damage caused by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to city data.

At least another 182 buildings received some kind of damage from the Nov. 30 quake that hit 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.

Nearly 40 percent of the most damaged buildings are in Chugiak-Eagle River area, the data shows.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to the north, property owners have submitted several hundred reports of damage. Of the 367 people who submitted damage assessments, 74 reported “major damage,” said Casey Cook, the borough emergency manager.

The number of buildings damaged is expected to grow as more inspections are conducted.

Maps showing the damaged properties in Anchorage do not indicate a hardest hit area. Small clusters of buildings marked as unsafe are peppered across the city. Buildings marked as red on the maps don’t mean they were destroyed, but were declared structurally unsound by engineers and not safe to occupy, said Chris Schutte, Anchorage’s economic and community development director.

The seemingly random distribution of damage is normal in quakes, said Barrett Salisbury, a state earthquake geologist.

“We see similar effects in earthquakes all over the world,” Salisbury said.

Factors affecting the level of damage during the earthquake include the type of construction used for a building, the geologic material it was built on and the way the shaking energy was focused or concentrated, Salisbury said.

On Monday, local, state and federal officials began visiting the more damaged areas of Anchorage to perform preliminary assessments for federal disaster relief. City officials asked residents to submit damage reports to the state assistance program. More than 2,600 damage reports have been submitted, Schutte said.

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