Earthquake in Nevada: Cal-Nevada Disaster Response is monitoring situation

February 23, 2008

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake centered near Wells, Nevada yesterday (Thursday, February 21) damaged buildings and the water system – but apparently caused no significant injuries within the population of around 1,600. Conference Volunteers in Mission and Disaster Response Coordinator Sue King reports her office is assessing the situation through the first responder channels and keeping UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) apprised.


There have been at least six aftershocks.


Preliminary information from the Elko County Emergency Management and Wells fire Management Officer is that most of the 700 residential structures are presumed damaged, with 25 historic building collapsed or sustaining major damage. Numerous chimney collapses were observed. There is visible damage to schools, shops, and businesses.


The Wells water system sustained breaks in at least two places and the state is moving water left over from Fernley flood response to the Wells area.


The Nevada Department of Transportation is inspecting bridges and roads from the epicenter outward. Two dams are being inspected for damage, as well.


According to Incident Command, all needs are currently being met. Anticipated needs include water, military field rations or ready-to-eat meals, and shelter assistance.


The state Emergency Operating Center is in the process of being moved to full activation. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sent an Emergency Response Team to Wells.


An Elko County disaster declaration is anticipated and the state is evaluating the need for a state declaration.


At this time, however, volunteer involvement is premature, according to King. However, she advises early response teams to stand by for further information and instruction from the Conference Disaster Response Office.