Major Earthquake on San Andreas Fault Could Displace Over 250,000 SoCal Residents

Crushed cars sit underneath a collapsed apartment building in the 19100 block of Victory Boulevard after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. (Credit: Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

Crushed cars sit underneath a collapsed apartment building in the 19100 block of Victory Boulevard after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. (Credit: Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

When a catastrophic earthquake hits California, buildings will topple and potentially hundreds could be killed.

But what gets less attention is the wrenching aftermath of such a huge temblor, which could leave whole neighborhoods torched by fires uninhabitable and hundreds of thousands of people without a home.

Officials are grappling with where all these quake refugees would go.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, more than 400,000 could be displaced in a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault, which directly runs underneath cities like Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Fremont, said Ken Hudnut, the U.S. Geological Survey’s science advisor for risk reduction. And it’s possible that more than 250,000 people in Southern California could be forced out of their homes after a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault, Hudnut said.

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