February 26, 2024



Nearly one year has passed since a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Eel River Valley communities, causing substantial damage in Rio Dell. A total of 381 dwelling units were rendered uninhabitable, with 11 structures remaining red-tagged. Yellow-tagged structures, which are damaged but safe to live in, now number around 200. The disaster is ongoing for many residents in Rio Dell, as numerous homes still require thousands of dollars in repairs that residents cannot afford. FEMA assistance was unavailable due to the earthquake not meeting the federal threshold for disaster assistance, leaving rural communities like Rio Dell to find other sources of aid. The damage to the city is estimated to be just shy of $36 million, with repairs including water and sewer line replacements. Despite the absence of FEMA dollars, philanthropic groups and Humboldt County provided assistance for earthquake survivors. A long-term recovery group in Humboldt County was established to address the absence of federal assistance. The Eel River Valley Long-Term Recovery group has created a blueprint for future disasters in the county and plans to host a community gathering in January 2024 to connect with the community and acknowledge the earthquake anniversary. The earthquake recovery process continues to pose unique challenges, but new programs and funds are being made available to address the unmet needs of residents affected by the earthquake.



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