The Francisco Earthquake of 1906

Natural disasters in the greater California region had never witnessed the level of destruction that resulted from the earthquake of 1906. By the time of the earthquake, the city of San Francisco was the most developed on the western coast and in the aftermath of the destruction, over 80% of the city was destroyed. What aggravated the destruction was the fire that ensured in the earthquake and it is believed that about 3,000 people died in the disaster.

Out of the possible population of 410,000 it was recorded that 227,000 were displaced and left homeless. It is projected by a conclusive research that the very fault line that caused the disaster also passes very close to Los Angeles. Estimates of the magnitude of the earthquake have ranged between Mw 7.7 to a possible higher range of 8.25 and the rapture spread a total length distance of 476 Km. The resulting fire burnt for four days and nights and is believed to constitute about 90% of the total destruction recorded in the event.

A lot of the response fire brigade was adversely damaged and the chief of the fire department himself, Dennis Sullivan died as a result of injuries sustained in the event. It was the work of the army that helped salvage the people out of their collapsing livelihoods. By constructing about 5,610 relief houses, the army made it possible for about 20,000 victims got temporary homes. The total value of the destruction has been estimated to have been about $400 million and only about $235 million of property as insured.

Whereas there was no pronounced psychological effect on the victims as was recorded by a preeminent psychologist of the time William James who made a trip to the city, there were far reaching social consequences. For instance, due to the fact that the office of city Hall was burnt, records of the Chinese immigrants were gutted which created room for illegal Chinese immigrants to claim citizenship.

Fortunately, the relief efforts and supplies the victims received were equally generous. Standard Oil and Andrew Carnegie both gave $100,000 as well as other donations from abroad. Just in a few days, the total relief efforts had reached a whopping $5,000,000. Yearly commemorations have been done for many years and these were attended by the actual survivors until the last survivors Del Monte and Rose Cliver passed on and closed the chapter of the events ever being graced by survivors.

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