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Devastating photos show the damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. It could pale in comparison to the next 'Big One.'

The Northridge earthquake struck at 4:30 a.m. on January 17, 1994.

The Northridge earthquake struck at 4:30 a.m. on January 17, 1994.
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The shaking only lasted for 10 to 20 seconds, but it was by followed by a series of aftershocks — including one 11 hours later.

The shaking only lasted for 10 to 20 seconds, but it was by followed by a series of aftershocks — including one 11 hours later.
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Fifty-seven people died as a result of the quake and another 8,700 were injured.

Fifty-seven people died as a result of the quake and another 8,700 were injured.
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Thousands of single-family homes, apartments, and mobile homes were either destroyed or severely damaged.

Thousands of single-family homes, apartments, and mobile homes were either destroyed or severely damaged.
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In the wake of the earthquake, the California National Guard set up shelters for displaced residents.

In the wake of the earthquake, the California National Guard set up shelters for displaced residents.
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“Many of the hardest-hit areas became known as ‘ghost towns’ ... because building owners could not afford the cost to rebuild,” California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a statement.

“Many of the hardest-hit areas became known as ‘ghost towns’ ... because building owners could not afford the cost to rebuild,” California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a statement.

Source: California Earthquake Authority

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The shaking incited fires, floods, and landslides. It also downed water and gas lines.

The shaking incited fires, floods, and landslides. It also downed water and gas lines.
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Most notably, the earthquake damaged multiple freeways, including the Santa Monica Freeway, one of the busiest freeways in the world.

Most notably, the earthquake damaged multiple freeways, including the Santa Monica Freeway, one of the busiest freeways in the world.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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Then-president Bill Clinton declared LA County a national disaster area, which opened up federal funding for relief efforts.

Then-president Bill Clinton declared LA County a national disaster area, which opened up federal funding for relief efforts.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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The Los Angeles Unified School District also shut down schools for a week, and city officials called for a temporary dusk-to-dawn curfew.

The Los Angeles Unified School District also shut down schools for a week, and city officials called for a temporary dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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Five days after the quake, around 10,000 households in the northwest San Fernando Valley still lacked running water.

Five days after the quake, around 10,000 households in the northwest San Fernando Valley still lacked running water.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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Around 200 residents contracted a disease called "Valley fever" after landslides kicked up debris that contained spores of fungus. Three people died as a result.

Around 200 residents contracted a disease called "Valley fever" after landslides kicked up debris that contained spores of fungus. Three people died as a result.

Source: United States Geological Survey

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The quake also damaged numerous hospitals, forcing patients to be relocated.

The quake also damaged numerous hospitals, forcing patients to be relocated.

California later passed a law requiring emergency rooms to be located in earthquake-resistant buildings.

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Many were afraid to return home after the quake, with some choosing to leave California entirely.

Many were afraid to return home after the quake, with some choosing to leave California entirely.

The exodus may have been enough to spur a population decline in LA in the years following.

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