Aftershocks Continue in California Desert

People shop for supplies, including food and water, at SOS Survival Products in Van Nuys, California on July 8, 2019, a few days after southern California was hit by its two biggest earthquakes in twenty years. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

TRONA (AP) — Aftershocks of last week’s big earthquakes are still rumbling beneath the California desert, but seismologists say the probability of large quakes continues to decline.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the chance of a quake larger than Friday’s 7.1 temblor is less than 1% and the chance of a magnitude 6 or higher is down to 6%.

Friday’s temblor followed a 6.4-magnitude shaker. Both were centered near the Mojave Desert towns of Ridgecrest and Trona, which suffered cracked buildings, blocked roads and several house fires.

Trona, which has about 1,800 residents, lost power until Monday and remained without water on Wednesday.

That was a major concern of hundreds of residents who gathered at a packed town hall to hear officials update them on the recovery.

Truckloads of bottled drinking water have been delivered. But there’s no water for household use, including supplying swamp coolers, a necessity in an area forecast to have triple-digit heat through the week.

“It’s 93 degrees inside my house,” resident Jonathan Schmid told KCBS-TV.

Trona resident Carl Bates said his water tank has run out.

Chimene Jackson sleeps shortly after dawn outside her parents’ home, which has been deemed uninhabitable due to structural damage from the recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake, on July 8, 2019 in Trona, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“But we have a lot of bottled water being sent in to us,” he told KABC-TV. “Everybody’s been donating quite a bit to our community. So that helps us. We’re staying alive with drinking water.”

Portable showers and bathrooms also have been brought in, and repair crews have been working around the clock.

Authorities said it will take time for the town to fully recover.

“I certainly think it’s going to be a while,” said Robert Lovingood, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. “We’re going to continue until everything is back and functioning.”

Some people still remained effectively homeless because of damage to buildings.

Ronnie Tolbert, 60, told the Los Angeles Times that she sleeps on mattresses in her driveway.

Funding for recovery has been coming in. President Donald Trump on Monday declared an emergency in California because of the quakes, paving the way for federal aid.

“It’s steamrolling to where we’re starting to get a lot more resources we need to help rebuild,” resident Jonathan Schmid told the Times.

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