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Economic Loss From Ridgecrest Earthquakes Estimated At $1 Billion

RIDGECREST (CBSLA) — The economic loss from the damage caused by the major earthquake that jolted Southern California over the Fourth of July weekend was estimated at $1 billion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS says they have issued a red alert for economic losses stemming from a magnitude-6.4 foreshock on the morning of Fourth of July and a magnitude-7.1 earthquake the next evening. They say past events on this alert level have required a national or international level response.

The earthquake jolted the Kern County community of Ridgecrest, where most of the temblors were centered, and the San Bernardino County city of Trona, where big stretches of Highway 178 were left visibly cracked.

Surveillance video from a convenience store showed bottles of wine shaking, then being flung off the shelves and shattering on the floor. One business owner said his store was looted for cash and lottery scratchers immediately after Friday's big earthquake.

Ceilings collapsed in stores across the region, and inside homes, furniture and large appliances were thrown about. Many mirrors were reported to have shattered in Trona, where as many as 80 percent of the residents are without water four days after the initial Fourth of July temblor.

"No showers. No clean clothes right now. Wipes are our best friends right now," resident Robert Martinez said.

The region has been so shaky since Thursday, that many residents in Ridgecrest opted to camp outside rather than be inside buildings that could fall down on them if another large earthquake were to hit.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the earthquake, which may be a help for the many homeowners who don't have earthquake insurance coverage due to the high deductibles.

Thursday's earthquake was felt through much of Southern California, but Friday's temblor was reported from as far north as Fresno and east as Las Vegas. But in spite of the major damage, the USGS says there is a low likelihood of casualties due to the remote location of the epicenter.

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