Trump declares emergency in California after powerful earthquakes

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump Monday approved a request to declare an emergency in California and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the earthquakes that began in the Ridgecrest area Thursday.

Specifically, White House officials said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is authorized to “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.”

The Southland escaped damage from Thursday’s magnitude 6.4 quake in then Mojave Desert and Friday’s magnitude 7.1 quake in the same location, but Kern County and San Bernardino County have seen substantial damage to buildings and infrastructure, including the loss of water and power.

In Ventura County, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was declared not mission-capable, although it remained accessible for mission-essential personnel only.

Seismologists have said the danger is not over yet, with more aftershocks expected this week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a presidential emergency declaration for direct federal assistance over the weekend.

“I have all the confidence in the world that the president will be forthcoming in immediate terms with the federal declaration,” Newsom said following a tour of the quake area Saturday. “We don’t agree on everything, but one area where there’s no politics, and we (have) worked extraordinarily well together is on emergency response and recovery, and increasing that emergency preparedness.”

Meanwhile, a dozen small earthquakes – each one at least 3 in magnitude — continued rattled the Ridgecrest area into early Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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