RIDGECREST, the United States, July 7 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of a massive 7.1 earthquake just one day after a magnitude 6.4 quake that hit Southern California in the United States, as well as aftershocks, shaken local residents are anxious about their future.

At a townhall meeting Sunday evening at Kerr McGee Community Center, near the epicenter of the quake, state and local authorities met with concerned locals to answer questions and talk about the road to recovery for the communities most severely affected by the earthquakes.

County leaders, the Ridgecrest City mayor, the Ridgecrest police chief, the Kern County Fire Department, and representatives from the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake addressed the crowd of anxious citizens.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that the earthquakes had impacted more than 5,000 structures and necessitated the evacuation of the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital's acute care unit to other local hospitals.

Authorities reported that the roads and sidewalks had been inspected and were in safe condition to use, the water system was fully operational, and that the waste water treatment facility was also fully operational.

Two hundred National Guard troops were called in to help safeguard local residents' homes and stores after some incidents of theft in local shops.

Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said a residence had been burglarized and a local convenience store broken into and a "very expensive" piece of equipment made off with. The stolen equipment has since been recovered.

"There are no deaths, so that's great. But there are a lot of displaced people that we and the Red Cross are providing food and shelter for, because, though lots of the houses look just fine on the outside, the insides are demolished," Jason Patin, director of Ridgecrest Parks and Recreation, told Xinhua.

Due to homes being red-tagged as unsafe for habitation and continued fears of larger quakes to come, the Red Cross center housed 163 people overnight. Many camped out behind the shelter under the stars, afraid to sleep under a roof.

Angel Munoz, 22, a Ridgecrest resident who was afraid to go home, is feeling more reassured and is now eager to return.

"I feel better now," he said. "I just want all this to be over."

Stressing that trauma also comes in emotional form, authorities said various types of support professionals will be on hand to help people with mental, emotional and spiritual support.

McLaughlin assured the public that the various uniformed personnel will "be here until we no longer need them to help us."

Anthony Romero, from the Kern County Fire Department, said their focus had shifted from putting out fires and checking on the public welfare to helping the community recover.

Fortunately, no deaths were reported and the majority of reported injuries consists of bangs, bruises and scrapes, he said.

Governor of California Gavin Newsom visited the affected areas on Saturday, and cited the critical damage to key roadways and lifeline routes along main transportation corridors, such as State Route 178 near Trona, which sustained severe cracking across the width of the roadway, forcing road closures.

In a press release on Sunday, Bob Franzoia, director of Caltrans, the state agency in charge of highway construction and maintenance, said he had signed an emergency order allocating over 3 million U.S. dollars for the repairs.

Caltrans crews began permanent construction repairs to Highway 178 on Sunday. The permanent repairs will replace the temporary ones that had failed under the massive geological forces of the second quake.