Alaska earthquakes: Anchorage hit by flooding and thousands left without power after powerful tremors strike

Governor says repairs to damage caused by tremors will take weeks 

Josh Gabbatiss@josh_gabbatiss
Saturday 01 December 2018 13:32
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Employees of Nesbett Courthouse take shelter during Anchorage earthquake in Alaska

Thousands have been left without electricity after a powerful earthquake struck Alaska, wrecking roads and triggering a tsunami warning.

The 7.0 magnitude tremor and a 5.7 aftershock struck Anchorage, the state’s largest city, early on Friday.

People were sent running into the streets or took cover under their desks as violent shaking was felt across the Alaskan city, which has a population of around 300,000.

Bridges and roads were hardest hit by the quake and the dozens of tremors that followed, but initial fears of an ensuing tsunami were short-lived.

Many routes in the Anchorage area were left impassable after the earthquake left deep cracks in the concrete.

Anchorage municipal manager Bill Falsey said progress had been made in restoring power to many homes, but mains water supplies had been shut off across the city as a precaution following reports of flooding.

He said city workers had responded to 28 reports of damaged water mains.

Air and rail travel were also disrupted by the event, with one of the state’s largest airline services temporarily suspending operations on Friday.

Alaska governor Bill Walker told a news conference it would take more than a week or two to repair roads damaged by the quake.

“This is much more significant than that,” he said, calling it a “scary day for Alaska” and issuing an official disaster declaration.

Mr Walker leaves office on Monday, but said he had advised the incoming administration of what his staff has been doing to take care of Alaskans affected by the quake.

The governor said he had spoken to Donald Trump, who tweeted a message of support to the people of Alaska and referred to the earthquake as a “big one”.

No serious injuries or deaths have so far been reported.

Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones told reporters at the California Institute of Technology that Friday’s event was triggered by a fault within the Pacific tectonic plate that is diving under Alaska.

This is the mechanism behind all the largest earthquakes that strike the US.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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