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Remembering the 1906 Earthquake
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By Brittani Polivka, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
April 13, 2010
On Wednesday, April 18, 2019 at 5:12 a.m. a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco and the coast of Northern California along the San Andreas Fault. The earthquake and resulting fire are remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths and the destruction of 80% of the city.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, President Roosevelt declared that the Red Cross was the best organization to undertake the relief operation. Upon this, the Red Cross was faced with a challenge that greatly exceeded any of its previous relief efforts since its establishment in 1881. Not only did the scale of this disaster surpass Red Cross experience, the organization had been freshly reorganized the year before, had no financial reserves and no individual working at headquarters with previous disaster relief experience.

Despite many obstacles, the Red Cross rose to the occasion. Working with other local relief organizations, the Red Cross was in charge of handling general rehabilitation of the displaced San Francisco residents. This also included the placement of food kitchens throughout the city and the construction of simple houses to replace large communal Army tents. San Francisco could not have recovered as rapidly without the generosity of the American people and the Red Cross as their instrument of compassion.

After 104 years, the Red Cross is still committed to serving those affected by disaster, and getting the community prepared for any type of emergency. The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter urges you to take some time to get yourself ready should another earthquake strike. You can get started by following the steps in the Red Cross Earthquake Safety Guide and the links below. Together we will be prepared for disasters big and small.

 Are You Ready for the Next One?

How will you reconnect with your family and friends if you become separated following a major earthquake? Do you have the right items in your disaster kit? Do you know what to do to protect yourself in an earthquake? Let the Red Cross help you get prepared.


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