Natural Disasters

Resiliency

Staff Dispatch: Learning From the Mexico City Earthquake

Mexico City Earthquake
Brina Bunt

* First in an occasional series of dispatches from MTC and ABAG staff about their experiences out in the field.  

On September 19, 2017, Mexico City experienced a damaging magnitude 7.1 earthquake, resulting in the deaths of 228 people and the collapse of 44 buildings. The 2017 earthquake occurred on the 35th anniversary of another deadly earthquake in the city that killed nearly 10,000 people. 

Due to geological, building construction and social factors, Mexico City is highly vulnerable to earthquakes. Much of the city sits on an ancient lake bed that has been drained over the last several centuries to accommodate the city’s expansion. This geology leads to significant subsidence and loose soils, which worsens ground shaking and can cause liquefaction in earthquake events.

In addition, although Mexico’s current building codes are similar to those in the Bay Area, many existing buildings date back decades or centuries, before these codes were in place. Nearly 60 percent of residential buildings are self-built without permits or inspections, meaning they don’t comply with any codes at all. Many of these residents are also highly vulnerable due to their social status – they often lack savings, insurance, secure jobs or even legal rights to their own homes.

The earthquake was a reminder to those of us in the Bay Area about the ever-present hazards of living in our own region. Read More

Environment

Metro Talks Presents: "Learning from the North Bay Wildfires" on Thursday, February 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Metro Talks - February 1, 2018

Come join the Bay Area’s four regional agencies this Thursday, February 1, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Bay Area Metro Center for the latest installment of the Metro Talks speaker series, Learning From the North Bay Wildfires

On Sunday evening, October 8, 2017, multiple small fires erupted in Sonoma and Napa counties. Fueled by strong winds and extreme fire conditions, these North Bay fires ultimately burned more than 200,000 acres, destroyed 8,900 structures, and killed 43 people.

This Metro Talks panel features Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who will speak to the devastating experience and aftermath of the fires. Other speakers include staff from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), who will discuss air quality impacts from the fires, disaster-related public health concerns in the Bay Area, and how this experience can inform our response to future regional disasters – from conducting public messaging during a disaster to the ongoing recovery effort.

The event is free and open to the public; RSVP here. Read More

Land Use

2017 North Bay Wildfire Affected Areas; Resources for Bay Area Cities and Counties

2017 North Bay Wildfire Affected Areas

The 2017 North Bay Wildfire Affected Areas Map displays the geographic extent of the four 2017 North Bay Wildfires, as well as the number of structures damaged or destroyed within the fires’ perimeters. The map gives a good sense of just how large the fires were, and how destructive. In addition to the lives lost, there were nearly 6,000 structures reported as damaged or destroyed within the Tubbs Fire alone (#2), taking out a major chunk of Santa Rosa’s (and the wider region’s) housing stock. In response to this regional emergency, MTC and ABAG have offered technical assistance, staff resources and other key information for local elected officials, city managers and the public.  Read More

Land Use

The Bay Area’s 30 Year Earthquake Risk Projection

Map of the Bay Area depicting thirty-year earthquake risk.

Living in the Bay Area, we all know the “Big One” is (probably) coming.  But how likely, and when?  October’s Map of the Month tries to convey the Bay Area 30 Year Earthquake Risk both in terms of probability of an earthquake occurring anywhere in the Bay Area as well as probability for any given major fault within the region.  As can be seen, there is a roughly 3 in 4 chance the Bay Area will experience a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake over the next 30 years, according to the United States Geological Survey.   Read More