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California Seeking Quake Disaster Assistance From Feds

California is asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to declare a disaster for two counties struck by large earthquakes last month.

Governor Gavin Newsom said yesterday he's asking the agency to declare Kern and San Bernardino counties a disaster area, which would make low-interest loans available to people whose homes and businesses suffered damage.

A magnitude-7.1 quake centered near Ridgecrest rocked the Mojave Desert region east of Los Angeles on July 5. It was preceded by a 6.4-temblor and followed by thousands of aftershocks.

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Authorities have said the quakes were the largest to hit the region in decades and caused about $100 million damage to Ridgecrest and nearby Trona.