Walker declares 7.0 quake a state disaster
Gov. Bill Walker has declared Friday's devastating 7.0 southcentral Alaska earthquake a disaster, following a federal commitment of aid from President Trump.
Walker's verbal declaration, announced in a statement from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, followed local and state emergency declarations Friday.
The quake centered just five miles north of Anchorage hit at 8:29 a.m. Friday It is said to have been 27 miles deep. Aftershocks of 5.7 magnitude and 4.1 magnitude followed, along with more smaller quakes.
After Walker and Trump spoke, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved public assistance for the Municipality of Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The region has seen massive damage to roadways, including an exit ramp from Minnesota Drive south to International Airport Road in Anchorage that was partially collapsed.
"At this time the state has not received any requests for assistance from local jurisdictions," state officials wrote Saturday. "Alaskans with damages to homes, vehicles, or personal possessions should document your damages. Take photos or video of losses, contact your insurance company, and begin cleaning up and making repairs. Be ready to report your damages if asked."
FEMA is issuing the following assistance:
The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas. Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.
Glenn and Seward highways were both closed, and later reopened. The Seward Highway was closed around 10:30 a.m. due to a rockslide at Mile 112 near the Potter Marsh weigh station. The Glenn Highway was also closed at the North Eagle River overpass due to “major damage,” including a massive sinkhole.
Power outages also took place throughout the region. The Matanuska Electric Association was the worst-hit of southcentral Alaska’s utilities, with roughly 50,000 of its roughly 58,000 customers losing power Friday according to its Twitter feed.
Following the quake, Anchorage Police Department Chief Justin Doll asked the public to text or use social media to free up the phone lines for those who need to make emergency calls if possible.
The Egan Center, Chugiak Senior Center, as well as the fire department in Girdwood are taking people in who need a warm place to stay overnight.
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MORE COVERAGE OF THE EARTHQUAKE: