Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I felt the Pakistan earthquake

I thought I'd written my last post for my time in Bahrain ... until half an hour ago, when my entire apartment building was rocked by the earthquake that hit southern Pakistan.

At a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter scale, an earthquake like this can cause widespread damage. Here in Manama, I could see the walls moving as the whole structure swayed from side to side; and I was actually bounced around on the sofa a little bit.

It lasted around 9-10 seconds - which is actually quite a long time when you're freaking out that the building might collapse and bury you in a pile of rubble on your very last day in the country, you know?

Ordinarily I'd have been in bed asleep and would have missed the whole thing, but tonight I was up late getting ready for my flight to Ethiopia. And ok, I was watching some terrible US reality tv while I did it.

First I thought it was in my head, but then I heard the noise of my water glasses rattling in their cupboard - so I googled it (where would we be without Google??) and within a few minutes I could see reports of the Pakistani epicentre coming in. Apparently it was a shallow quake, only 10km below the surface. I don't know if that means you feel it more, or less, than if the epicentre is lower down?

So after a minor panic that I might DIE in a collapsed building on the eve of actually flying out of the country, my nerves settled down again when there was no escalation of the tremor and I haven't felt one since.

Whew. My heart is in my throat.


polly pratt said...

My GOD ,

Glad that you are not under a pile of rubble.
Best of luck with your travels home.


Isabella Golightly said...

OMG. I remember being in the bank when the Newcastle earthquake hit, in 1989 & seeing the aircon tubes swinging back & forth - so scary. V glad you're OK - under the stairs or the doorframes is the place to be. Or on a plane. Fly, be free!

willywagtail said...

Tehehe. So sorry. I live in New Guinea as a kid. Major earthquakes are common there. I think it was July/August each year that was labelled earthquake season. I remember looking at petrified kids (after my own petrifying experience was a year past!) and t6hinking how silly they looked carrying on. Childish, snobby thoughts I know but your post and comment about dying tickled my memories. Enjoy your trip home! We mostly only get floods and fire here - not earthquakes!! Cherrie

Margaret @ Konstant Kaos said...

what a terrifying feeling, I bet you are glad that you are making your way home now!