Ridgecrest 1 Year Later: a look back at recovery 6 months ago

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In December, 17’s Karen Hua returned to Ridgecrest to see how the city was recovering six months after two powerful earthquakes.

By then, the dust had settled, but the problems were exposed.

“We get reimbursed 75 percent of the cost to repair the infrastructure side of the city. Federally, nothing,” explained Ridgecrest Police Chief, Jed McLaughlin.

Ridgecrest realized it had to have at least $50 million in damage to qualify for federal aid.

“Just because we didn’t meet that, it’s almost like a punishment that you didn’t,” McLaughlin added.

The same thing happened to the city’s only hospital, costing them a year of income to repair damages.

“We had a lot of support in the way of people arranging for resources for us, but we’ve gotten no financial support from anybody,” said Ridgecrest Regional Hospital CEO, Jim Suver.

Even in December, six months after the quakes, some people still were not back on their feet.

“There’s 30 mobile homes here in this park alone that went down, and people had to sign it over,” said Trousdale Estates resident, Bridget Scoggan, whose home was knocked off its foundation during the earthquakes.

“Don’t forget Ridgecrest,” she added. “We may be a small town, but people are suffering still”

So when outside help disappeared, the community helped itself.

“We immediately started gathering donations. We had people coming in and dropping off food, we had people dropping off water,” recalled Ridgecrest Lions Club member, Stephen Birdwell.

Mayor Peggy Breeden added, “We take care of ourselves first. We can ask for help, we can seek other assistance, but everybody knows that we stand together. Ridgecrest rocks, we’ve said that over and over again.”

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