It's a hypothetical magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Hayward fault, which runs along the east side of the San Francisco Bay with the epicenter in Oakland, CA. This scenario was modeled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide a realistic projected outcome before the real one happens. It was actually developed to guide residents and policy-makers in the bay area in earthquake-risk reduction and resilience. The main focus was on building codes, lifeline interdependencies, community loss and internet economy.
The scenario was led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). California's Seismic Safety Commission (SSC) and more than 60 HayWired Partners from state and local governments, research organizations, non-profit and private businesses were also involved in the scenario.
Property damage and business interruption losses were estimated to be more than $82 billion. The losses were attributed to shaking damage, liquefaction, and landslides. About 77,000 households could be displaced from the damage and if other factors are included, such as utility outage and fires, that number could rise to 152,000. This can be compared to the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 that cost $20 billion in damages, and $49 billion in economic loss. Also some 125,000 people were made at least temporarily homeless.
What were they trying to achieve? The scenario modeled the geophysics, engineering, environmental, social and economic impacts of a large earthquake. The science behind this helps understand the hazards, predicting ground-shaking intensity, landslides and soil liquefaction of high hazard areas. The research was done in the hope of developing clear and verifiable actions that residents and private businesses can take to increase their seismic resilience and business continuity in the aftermath of an earthquake.
As part of our focus on closing the protection gap - the difference between economic and insured losses. Swiss Re was involved with the scenario from a resilience perspective as a sponsor and took on the public private campaign business challenge.
Seismic activity is a real threat to California for both its citizens and economy. The more prepared we are, the quicker we can recover, if and when the big one hits.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Earthquakes
Location: California, USA