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. California readies for earthquake drill, conference

A 5.4 magnitude quake jolted Los Angeles and Southern California in July, a reminder of the region's vulnerability to seismic disasters. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Nov 10, 2008
Millions of people across Southern California are to take part in an earthquake drill later this week aimed at preparing the state for a devastating seismic disaster, officials said Monday.

An estimated five million people will participate in the voluntary drill scheduled for Thursday which is believed to be the biggest event of its kind in the US.

The drill, dubbed "The Great Southern California Shake Out," is being organized by multiple agencies, and aims to replicate what would happen if a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the densely populated region.

Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years.

A study published earlier this year said a 7.8 magnitude quake could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more and damage 300,000 buildings.

A 5.4 magnitude quake jolted Los Angeles and Southern California in July, a reminder of the region's vulnerability to seismic disasters.

Participants in Thursday's drill, scheduled for 10 am (18H00 GMT) will "drop, cover, and hold" by taking cover under desks during the exercise.

The drill takes place in California as a three-day International Earthquake Conference is held in Los Angeles from Wednesday.

Delegates to the conference will include academics, policy-makers, emergency managers, and responders from high-earthquake-risk cities around the world, conference organizers said.

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China rebuilds six months after quake, amid frustrations
Beichuan, China (AFP) Nov 10, 2008
Rebuilding work is in full swing in China's Sichuan province six months after the worst earthquake in a generation levelled entire towns, but for some families, help is slow and insufficient.

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