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MAJOR CALIFORNIA DISASTERS CLAIM 43 LIVES, CAUSE MORE THAN $3 BILLION DAMAGE IN 1991

 MAJOR CALIFORNIA DISASTERS CLAIM 43 LIVES,
 CAUSE MORE THAN $3 BILLION DAMAGE IN 1991
 Second Most Costly Year in Past Decade
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- California suffered the loss of 43 lives and more than $3 billion damage due to a variety of disasters in 1991 -- among them fire, earthquake, flooding, freeze, drought, toxic spills, and pest infestation -- according to the California Office of Emergency Services.
 The total makes 1991 the second most costly disaster year in the past decade. (The most costly year was 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake caused 63 deaths and an estimated $5.9 billion damage.)
 "Since his inaugural in January," OES Director Richard Andrews noted, "Governor Wilson has addressed these various emergencies with aggressive and innovative policies, including the establishment of a drought action task force, creation of a rapid deployment force to respond to major toxic disasters, and support of research to address the devastation caused by the poinsettia whitefly."
 During 1991, Governor Wilson proclaimed a State of Emergency six times. President Bush signed Major Disaster Declarations twice, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued two disaster declarations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued one.(i)
 In addition, the OES issued three Director's Concurrences for assistance to public agencies under the state Natural Disaster Assistance Act.
 "These figures show the wide variety and complexity of risks that Californians face," Andrews said. "They emphasize the need for emergency preparedness to be a priority for government, private industry, and each resident of this state."
 Specifics are reflected below:(ii)
 January Freeze. Estimated crop loss $852 million (33 counties).
 Gubernatorial Proclamation, Presidential Declaration.
 January- Drought (proclaimed by 19 California counties).
 March Estimated loss $548 million. Gubernatorial
 Proclamation, USDA designation.
 February- City of Hesperia flooding and windstorm.
 March Estimated loss $251,000. Director's Concurrence.
 March City of Oceanside heavy rains and flooding. Estimated
 loss $351,000. Director's Concurrence.
 March City of Victorville heavy rains and flooding.
 Estimated loss $262,000. Director's Concurrence.
 June Sierra Madre earthquake (Los Angeles County). One
 death, more than 30 injuries, $33.5 million estimated
 loss. Gubernatorial Proclamation, Small Business
 Administration declaration.
 July Dunsmuir train derailment and toxic spill affecting
 Shasta and Siskiyou counties. Three hundred persons
 treated. More than $479,100 provided to date in the
 form of economic injury loans to affected local
 businesses. Gubernatorial Proclamation, Small Business
 Administration declaration.
 October East Bay Hills fire. Twenty-five deaths, nearly 3,000
 dwellings destroyed, more than $1.5 billion estimated
 loss. Gubernatorial Proclamation, Presidential
 Declaration.
 October Poinsettia whitefly. $90 million estimated damage to
 crops in Imperial and Riverside counties.
 Gubernatorial Proclamation. Denial from USDA (under
 appeal).
 November Multiple vehicle accident due to Interstate-5 dust
 storm (Fresno County). Seventeen deaths, 150 injuries.
 Figures for 1981-1990 are below for comparison.
 1990 -- 12 Gubernatorials (rain and snowstorms, earthquake,
 Mediterranean fruitfly, Mexican fruitfly, wildland fires,
 drought, freeze); 1 Presidential (wildland fires). Four
 deaths. Estimated loss: $317 million.
 1989 -- 8 Gubernatorials (4 medfly, 4 earthquake); 1 Presidential
 (earthquake). Sixty-three deaths. Estimated loss:
 $5.9 billion (earthquake only).
 1988 -- 8 Gubernatorials (wind, rainstorms, flooding, fire and
 wave action, medfly, wildland fires, high winds); 2
 Presidentials (wind and rainstorms, earthquake); 3
 requests to U.S. Department of Agriculture (drought).
 Estimated loss: $111 million.
 1987 -- 10 Gubernatorials (freeze, wildland fires, medfly,
 earthquake, flooding); 1 Presidential (earthquake).
 Twenty-one deaths. Estimated loss: $457 million.
 1986 -- 8 Gubernatorials (7 flood, 1 air crash); 1 Presidential
 (for entire flood area covered by the 7 Gubernatorials).
 Thirteen deaths (flood only). Estimated loss:
 $379 million (flood only).
 1985 -- 7 Gubernatorials (fires, hydrilla), 1 Presidential
 (fires). Three deaths. Estimated loss: $65 million.
 1984 -- 4 Gubernatorials (high tides, earthquake, fire, floods).
 Estimated loss: $50 million.
 1983 -- 12 Gubernatorials (flooding, earthquake, pest
 infestations, levee failure); 3 Presidentials (flooding,
 earthquake). Estimated loss: $570 million.
 1982 -- 8 Gubernatorials (flooding, fire/high winds, levee
 failure, rain); 3 Presidentials (flooding, winds/fire,
 levee failure). Thirty-two deaths. Estimated loss:
 $597 million.
 1981 -- 2 Director's Concurrences (high tides, earthquake).
 Estimated loss: $31 million.
 (i) A Major Disaster Declaration authorizes a number of assistance programs for both individuals and public agencies in the disaster area; an SBA declaration provides for low-interest loans to affected individuals and business owners; a USDA declaration authorizes the Farmers Home Administration to offer low interest loans to family farmers suffering disaster losses.
 (ii) Dollar loss estimates provided by county Offices of Emergency Services.
 -0- 12/27/91
 /CONTACT: Nancy Hardaker of California Office of Emergency Services, 916-427-6659/ CO: California Office of Emergency Services ST: California IN: SU:


DG -- SF002 -- 5545 12/27/91 17:01 EST
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