An Earthquake.

On Tuesday evening we had an earthquake.  Quite large as these things go.  In fact is was 7 on the Richter Scale.

Map of New Zealand

The long, rolling quake, at 230 kilometres deep, was centred around New Plymouth (that’s the sticking out bit on the western side of the North Island)  and was felt throughout the lower North Island and upper South Island. We are told that buildings shook and evening workers reported being shaken about in their offices.

The first I knew about this large shake was when a friend called me shortly after 10.40pm to ask if I was alright.  “Yes” I replied “Why wouldn’t I be?”.  You see I hadn’t felt a thing but so far haven’t spoken to anyone else who was unaware of the quake.  So what does that say about me?  Oh Lotte rushed into the bedroom where I was preparing for bed, but I thought it was because she had just realised I wasn’t in the room with her.

New Zealand has always been known as the Shaky Isles and as Wellington sits firmly on a fault line we are all aware that at some time – whether now or in 100 years time – the city will experience a large earthquake.  However, this latest one, felt by so many did little damage.  And it was larger than the one that devastated Christchurch and resulted in the death of 185 people in February 2011.

We now have a host of predictions about earthquakes and our preparedness (or lack thereof).  We are told that it could take 40 days to restore the water supply to even a basic level, while road access could take up to 120 days, according to “worst case” predictions presented to the region’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, following Tuesday’s quake.

That could leave Wellington residents or commuters trapped in the city for months, and dependent on water rations being distributed by authorities for about six weeks.  Grim predictions indeed.

But for most of us, we go about our usual business heedless of the many minor quakes that shake our city regularly.  But are we being foolhardy?  and how many of us have survival items readily available in case of such a disaster?  I suspect that if I did even a small poll amongst my friends and family, most would be aware of what should be in a disaster kit, but many would not have made any provisions for surviving a disaster.

“We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.”
Abraham Lincoln


32 responses to “An Earthquake.

  1. Difficult call here, should you spend your life preparing for the worst, or live for the time you have now, being unprepared for the future. I really don’t think anyone can answer this one.
    Glad your’e ok though. 🙂

    • So I put together a box with most of the things they suggest one will need. But I have lived with the threat of earthquakes for some 40 years and I guess am pretty blase about it all.

  2. Glad you’re ok…sometimes it’s a blessing not to feel a thing!

  3. It’s a bit of a fine line between being prepared and being anxious–at least that’s the case for me. I’m happy to hear that you and your Lotte are okay.

    • Well some preparedness is called for I think but not to the extent that all we think about is the possibility/probability of an earthquake.

  4. Judith – I think you should move to the States! Bring Lotte too and we can all finally connect. Old Abe was right though, about the media prompting fear. Maybe being oblivious is a good thing. I’m so glad you are o.k. and oblivious. 🙂

  5. I used to live in a hurricane zone and the media was always warning us about The Big One – the inevitable storm that was going to devastate us all. There is only so much one can do to prepare and you have to live your life.
    But I’m glad that this was not The Big One for you. 🙂

    • Thanks Jackie. We do have to get on with life even though there may be a big one around the corner. BTW I found your comment in SPAM – as my grandsons would say “Go figure”

  6. Christine in Los Angeles

    First, and most important, I’m so glad you’re safe. Here we are pressed to have an “Earthquake Preparedness Kit” very similar to the one illustrated. A good suggestion for those of us living in apartments, (where there’s little space to put the trashcan), a wooden circle on top, covered with a floorlength cloth, will serve as a sidetable, until it’s time to dig in … and we all know that time is looming.
    God bless, Christine

    • Hi Big Sister. That suggestion about the can with a wooden circle on top is a good one. I hadn’t heard it before. Now all I need is to find a space in this little home for another sidetable.

  7. Every hurricane season we are given “the list” of things to be prepared. Thankful our main threats are seasonal in nature, and can be seen coming, thanks to technology.

  8. I’m glad you’re okay. We should have a disaster preparedness kit, but we don’t. I guess it’s because nothing ever happens here but really hot summers. As long as AC is working, we’re set 🙂

    • Enjoy the heat and pklease, please send some of it our way. We didn’t even have a hot (even warm) summer this year. Woe is me. 🙂

  9. I try to at least have extra jugs of water in the garage. It’s hurricane season here, and we live on the coast, but our house happens to be on the same power grid as the hospital two blocks away. If there is ever a power outage here, we get ours back within a couple of hours, even though other parts of the city might be without power for days. So I feel pretty safe. Hard to prepare for an earthquake though.

    • Well there is really no warning given. Sometimes dogs start to bark but Lotte didn’t even do that this time.
      Glad you don’t have problems with electricity. The only time we lose it here is if some fool plows into a power pole or very, very occasionally in a bad storm. Luckily we don’t get many of either of these circumstances. 🙂

  10. It was a big earthquake that you missed Judith. I know a few people who did not feel or hear it. It was a most unusual feeling as the ground and floor of the house undulated beneath my feet as I headed for a doorway.
    Having seen the reality of Christchurch we are much better prepared than we once were. If we never need the emergency supplies that is the best outcome……
    Enjoy the weekend.

  11. Glad you are okay. I suppose one could move to another place on earth but really if it is not earthquakes it could be hurricanes, tornados or other inclement weather. I have friends on the west coast who would never live anywhere else but I am not sure I would be comfortable moving to earthquake land even though there is such natural beauty there!

    • You are right Chris, there is always something to worry about. An at least we don’t have to worry about those raging fires that parts of your country are battling at present, And as I said we become quite blase about the small earthquakes that bother us from time to time. But big ones – that’s a totally different story,

  12. My father is still living in chch, amidst the rubble, but i can almost guarantee that he has not created a box of essentials.. I shall ask him though,. I am far away .. out on the prairies of the US, no earthquakes out here, just HB droughts! celi

    • Hi Celi. i haven’t been to Christchurch since the quakes, but my friends who live there tell me life is slowly getting back to some sort of normal. Hope your father is OK. Thanks for dropping by. Judith

  13. Christine in Los Angeles

    One more thing (well, you know there’s always one more thing, with me), OrdinaryGood mentioned standing in a doorway during the earthquake. That’s really not a good idea, since the door could jerk and smash into you. A friend’s sister lost the tips of three fingers, and suffered a sharp slam to her nose and forehead, when a heavy door swung into her. A safer place is probably under a heavy diningtable.
    God bless, Christine

    • Thanks for the comment and yes I do know there is always one more thing with you.Ordinary Good is an acquaintance (and now a blogging friend) who lives quite near me. It used to be that school children were told to stand in doorways but now we are told to get under a desk, table of large piece of furniture. 🙂

  14. Marianne London UK

    How weird that you did not feel a thing. Thank God you are all safe and well. We just do not get earthquakes very often here in fact they are quite rare.
    I would not know where to go or what to do, except being a coward SCREAM my head off. Love you Marianne XX

    • Well because we live in the “Shaky Isles” all children and adults know what to do in the event of an earthquake. whether or not I would remember is all together a different matter. Love you too small sister. XXX

  15. Interesting that you didn’t feel anything. Must be a sturdy little house. Good to hear there was no major damage.

    • Well the house has been standing on its sturdy little feet for almost 100 years (c 1914) and I think it has been through many such quakes. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  16. There may exist a fine line between being prepared and being paranoid. I see nothing wrong with being prepared provided it doesn’t keep you from living and enjoying life. We put together some supplies back in 1999, when they predicted the big Y2K fiasco. I update the supplies every now and again, but I don’t sweat it. Perhaps I should sweat it a little more …

    I am glad you are safe. I am sorry your area was stricken with an earthquake. That is one of Mother Nature’s creations that frightens me more than others. One is left helpless when the earth shakes under one’s feet.

    • Thanks Diane. We live with the possibility/probability of an earthquake in our area and just get on with life. I am prepared but not paranoid. My bigger fear would be to be caught in a bush fire. 🙂

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