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Twenty Years Later: Remembering the Loma Prieta Earthquake
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Memories of Loma Prieta

Red Cross volunteers and staff share their memories of relief efforts following the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Quake Hits (Marian Wilson-Sylvestre)

Red Cross Response (Jean Nickaloff)

Red Cross Shelter in the Marina (Eleanor Najjar)

 Proudest Moment (Lisa Bennett)

See more videos at YouTube.com/RedCrossBayArea


On October 17, 2019, as the nation watched Game 3 of the World Series in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck the Loma Prieta segment of the San Andreas fault in Northern California.
The devastating quake triggered a section collapse of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, catapulting cars to the deck below, as well as the destruction of the two-tiered Interstate 880 Cypress Structure along Oakland's waterfront, which trapped scores of commuters in their cars. In total, the disaster caused 66 deaths, injured 2,400 people and left at least 10,000 homeless.
Within hours of the earthquake, the American Red Cross mobilized its corps of volunteers and staff from within California and across the country to bring immediate emergency relief to the affected region. Nearly 15,000 families – speaking over 57 different languages and ranging from densely populated urban and suburban areas, to mountainous and rural farming communities – needed immediate disaster assistance including food, clothing, life-saving medications, shelter and emotional comfort. 

During the course of initial response and recovery, over 7,800 American Red Cross volunteers and staff opened 45 shelters to house nearly 65,000 people. The Red Cross provided more than 642,000 meals to victims and emergency workers, helped thousands of families reconnect, and assisted victims with house payments and damage assessment.

The Red Cross was there for the people of the Bay Area when they most desperately needed it. Through the ongoing support of our community, we continue to be there -- providing relief for those affected by everyday disasters and emergencies and getting our community ready for the next major disaster.

 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.

  • Request On-Site Training for Your Community Group
  • Be Red Cross Ready Online Training
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