The Alaskan earthquake...Total damage has now been estimated at least 350 million dollars (GBP125 million)?
The Alaskan earthquake...Total damage has now been estimated at least 350 million dollars (GBP125 million) and the death toll will probably be more than a hundred.
In the town of Seward, a major rail supply port for the interior of Alaska, the earthquake and tidal waves were followed by fire. The town with a population of 1,700 has been almost demolished. There were 2 dead, 20 presumed dead, and 2 injured. Estimates of damage to its industry range as high as 95 per cent. Seward is 60 miles south of Anchorage near the centre of the earthquake.
The tremors knocked railway wagons off their tracks and knocked a 5,000 foot section of the waterfront into the bay. The tidal wave destroyed the rest of the city's industrial life. All storage tanks broken and outside the town the railway tracks were twisted into impossible shapes. Without power or sanitation the town now faces a major health problem, although food supplies are being provided by the U.S.Army.
Along the stretches between the cities, the twisted tracks of the railway show why 20 million dollars is the cost quoted to restore the track to operational use. Edward McDermotts, President Johnson's emissary called Seward, "the worst yet", as he surveyed it from the air. The town won award only last week as an all American city, and big celebration had been planned for next Saturday. Much of the rebuilding at Seward will have to wait for these tracks to be replaced.
Largest city in Alaska is Anchorage with a population of 100,000 the largest was also one of the hardest hit. At the last count there was 8 dead, two presumed dead and over 50 injured. workers raking through debris were not sure that they have yet found all the victims.
The great destruction of the earthquake is visible everywhere. The destruction to the very basis of community and economic life is not so apparent. Much of the commercial centre of the city of Anchorage is damaged to the extent that there is uncertainty as to whether the banks can be reopened on Tuesday (March 31) as hoped, and the question as to which buildings will have to be demolished remains unresolved.
The general public will not be allowed into this downtown area until Tuesday at the earliest.
There has been some confusion as to the matter of central authority. The city officials say they never considered asking for lartial law, yet there has been national guard troops, U.S.army troops state and local police exercising separate authority. On Sunday, the city authorities said basic police authority over all law enforcement now rests with the Anchorage chief of Police, but the red tape has caused some problems with access by bankers and others to the damage areas. The destruction is not only confined to commerce, to authority and social life but also to every building in one degree or another. The word normal really has no after-shock to remind the people of that fact.