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CA aftershocks continue

More than 90 aftershocks had rocked California by Tuesday morning after a 6.5 earthquake killed two people in the city of Paso Robles on Monday.

BY SUSAN KIM | PASO ROBLES, Calif. | December 23, 2003

More than 90 aftershocks had rocked California by Tuesday morning after a 6.5 earthquake killed two people in the city of Paso Robles on Monday.

Aftershocks could last up to a week, emergency management officials added, leaving some residents to face an anxious holiday season.

The largest aftershock was a magnitude 4.7, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

California emergency management reports said there was a 90 percent chance aftershocks of 5.0-magnitude or greater would follow in the next week.

Emergency management officials continued to assess damages, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was scheduled to tour the affected areas Tuesday.

National faith-based groups continued to remain in contact with local field representatives and with emergency management officials. As damage assessments continued, Church World Service and its partners were looking at plans for possible long-term response.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) reported dozens of injuries, plus buckled roads, broken gas mains and damaged buildings. Disaster responders from the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church were assessing damages, according to UMCOR.

In Paso Robles, an 1892 clock tower collapsed, crushing shops and cars. Search-and-rescue had ended by early Tuesday, and local emergency management officials reported that debris removal was their highest priority.

The quake was felt from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

It is the first fatal earthquake in California since a 6.7 temblor hit the Northridge area in 1994. That quake hit a densely populated area near Los Angeles, killing 72 people, and injuring 9,000. Since that time, faith-based disaster response groups have worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state emergency management officials to better prepare Californians for earthquakes.

Paso Robles, a city of 25,000 in San Luis Obispo County bore the brunt of the quake. Paso Robles was 20 miles east of the quake's epicenter.

The quake was centered in a sparsely populated area some 11 miles north of the town of Cambria.

Some 10,000 homes were still without power in the San Luis Obispo area Tuesday morning.

Monday's quake was the California's most powerful temblor since 1999, when magnitude-7.1 quake struck the desert near Joshua Tree. Nobody was injured.

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