Gov. Walker addresses the damage from Friday's quake
Gov. Bill Walker began a news conference Friday afternoon expressing gratitude for the safety of Alaskans following the quake.
"We have a lot to be thankful for," Walker said. "We have not have had the loss of life that other locales would have had with an earthquake of this magnitude."
Walker called the federal response "tremendous," noting that President Trump had called at least three times during the day as he attended a conference in Bueno Aires, Argentina.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long subsequently told Walker that Trump had accepted his request for a federal disaster declaration.
Walker took an overflight of the Port of Alaska in a Black Hawk helicopter flight, saying he didn't see any major structural damage there but the helicopter never landed for a closer inspection.
"A lot of the damage is transportation infrastructure that we've seen from the air," Walker said.
There was no immediate timeframe for repairs to the damaged roads, according to the governor.
"It could be some period of time -- some of the damage is pretty significant," Walker said. "I don't think this is a temporary matter of a week or two; this is much more significant."
President Trump was completely committed to making good Alaska's losses in the disaster when he spoke with Walker.
"There wasn't a dollar amount attached; he said, 'We're going to fix Alaska,'" Walker said. "He said, 'We'll help you get this taken care of.'"
Although Walker personally experienced both the devastating Good Friday 1964 earthquake and Friday's temblor, he noted that they felt unique -- in 1964 he had been standing in a river near Valdez, while he was in an elevator at the Atwood Building in downtown Anchorage on Friday.
"This had a different feel to it; it had a very aggressive feel to it," Walker said. "This one felt a little different to me -- it felt like it could be the Big One."
Even the road trip to Friday's news conference, Walker said, was a tribute to the state's resilience on a stressful day.
"Every stoplight that was out, it was an immediate, respectful four-way stop," Walker said. "It was Alaskans being Alaskans."
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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