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After 25 Years, a Look Back at the Loma Prieta Earthquake

  • Loma Prieta Earthquake
    Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1989 In San Francisco, California, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused extensive damage to homes, cars and other personal property.
  • Loma Prieta Earthquake
    Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1989 A Red Cross worker provides meals to people near the site of the Cypress Street Viaduct of the Nimitz Freeway Interstate 880 in Oakland, California during the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Over 69,000 people turned to the American Red Cross

For fifteen seconds on October 17, 1989, Northern California was shaken to its core. The 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake caused widespread damage from San Francisco to Monterey County. Commuters were stranded, downtown Santa Cruz was destroyed, and bridges and overpasses collapsed.

Amid confusion, hunger and sorrow, over 69,000 people turned to the American Red Cross. Within hours, disaster workers were providing desperately needed resources.

RESPONSE AND RECOVERY In the weeks and months that followed, almost 8,000 Red Cross staff provided lifesaving medical supplies, housed nearly 65,000 people, served over 600,000 meals, and distributed blankets, food and clothing to 15,000 families.

Additionally, the Red Cross helped to fund the rebuilding of homes, drilling for new wells and repairing water pumps, restructuring an access bridge in Monterey County.

YOU MAKE IT POSSIBLE Your support is what made it possible for local residents to become trained Red Cross disaster volunteers prior to the quake. Contributions received before and after the quake also enabled the Red Cross to help rebuild the lives of Northern Californians.

Since 1989, technology has ramped up to help facilitate earthquake preparedness and response at home, school and work. The Red Cross earthquake app allows users to receive alerts and notifications when an earthquake occurs, get prepared, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.