WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) — Some 6,000 emergency and military personnel are set to conduct a four-day exercise on the US west coast to prepare for a potential rupture to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which could become the country’s largest natural disaster, US officials said on Monday.
"It's really going to require the entire nation to respond to an event like this," Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Director Kenneth Murphy was quoted by the Tribune News Service as saying.
FEMA is the US agency responsible to coordinate the exercise.
Officials pointed out the "Cascadia Rising" exercise will be the largest conducted in the Pacific Northwest, and will involve personnel from emergency-operations centers from the US states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho as well as Canada’s province of British Columbia.
Nearly 15 years ago, Washington State was hit by a massive earthquake that caused widespread damages. Experts predict that another earthquake will hit this June, but will not be as severe. However, they add that when the next "megaquake" does strike, it could reach a magnitude of 9 degrees that will cause Tsunamis as high as 30 feet along the US and Canadian west coast.
FEMA estimates that the next "megaquake" will likely cause some 10,000 fatalities, at least 30,000 injuries and will damage nearly all of the west coast’s port facilities and electrical systems.