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Surveying the Damage

Aired December 23, 2003 - 13:56   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We've got to take folks quickly back to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, addressing reporters now.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: At 11:50 local time yesterday, an earthquake hit California, and the tremor was felt from San Francisco all of the way to Los Angeles. It registered on the Richter Scale a 6.5. And even though the earthquake lasted only a few seconds, it left behind destruction that will take months, even years, to rebuild and to repair.

The greatest tragedy, of course, is that the time will not undue the loss of life that occurred because of the earthquake. Two people have perished. We also have more than 50 injured, and nearly four dozen buildings damaged in a five-block radius.

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the rescue workers and to all the volunteers, and everyone who took great risk to search the wreckage for their fellow citizens.

I also want to thank...


... big hand to them. They have done an extraordinary job.

I want to also thank the city, the county, the state workers, utility crew who have been on the job around the clock since the earthquake struck. They have done a fantastic job in restoring power, water and other important services. I want to give them also a big hand.


Immediately after the quake, 100,000 people have lost power. That's the bad news. The good news is that within a short period of time, by evening, by that same evening, half of the people got their power back because of the incredible work that is being taken place here. We have already begun the task of recovering and rebuilding. I have instructed my state agencies to work closely with local officials to give them all the support that they need.

At the conclusion of my remarks, I will sign a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in San Sobisio (ph) County. This will allow us to provide state resources for rebuilding efforts for San Sobisio County. At the 11...

(APPLAUSE) At 11:00 a.m. yesterday, this was an American Main Street, alive with energy. It was a place where people came together to make this a vibrant center of commerce and community. Today this is a site of devastation, but we will come together once again as Californians and as neighbors. We will rebuild this town square. We will restore the energy that made it a place that people want it to be. These buildings may have crumpled under the pressure of the quake, but I know for sure that the people will not buckle that easily.


This will be your main street once again.


And now before I sign the declaration, I want to just say a few words also about homeland security and about security of our state of California. I want to say just a few words. Following Washington's decision to raise the nation's level to high, the threat level to high, I have ordered the increased security measures in our state, airports, harbors, bridges, power plants and other key areas will receive extra security. This is an elevated state of readiness to ensure the safety of all of our people in California.

I have been in contract with Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and I have been kept abreast of federal activities. We are coordinating efforts among state and federal agencies, our National Guard, our Homeland Security office, all agencies are working together to stiffen our security posture.

I urge your attention, and common sense will be helpful as well. Keep alert and be security minded. But as we are vigilant, we also have the resolve to preserve our way of life, so I tell people, go and enjoy the holidays, to show that our freedoms will not be lost to fear. This is a time to give thanks for our blessings, to celebrate our liberties, to sound the trumpet call of good cheer and goodwill. This holiday season, we will be ready and we will rejoice.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


PHILLIPS: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actually his first address to reporters and to the nation with an actual state of emergency, you could say, in his state, California, since he has been elected. He's been visiting the earthquake zone there in central California. Actually signing the official paperwork as aid will come into the area of Paso Robles, California. Crews are still removing debris from the damaged buildings there. As you know, two people died in the quake there in that area.

Officials now saying, though, that everyone has been accounted for, that no additional casualties are expected. Arnold Schwarzenegger also talked about homeland security, and that extra security in California has been put forth under the orange alert.


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