Thursday, September 03, 2009

Jakarta Earthquake 2009

All is well here with the Qld family, just another unusual experience to be filed away in our memories! Depends which news you read but yesterdays Jakarta earthquake was between 7 and 7.5 scale earthquake...this is apparently pretty big!

As per usual, there was no immediate news online or on TV, but Twitter was instantly full of updates...as with the bombing here and in Mumbai it only takes seconds for the info to start rolling out. This morning I can find out more details; villages closer to the epicentre have been flattened and there was a landslide which killed people. There are no reliable details yet on the number of people killed or injured, Aljazeera has got good coverage with images and video here. It is tragic how much Indonesia suffers from natural disasters, my heart goes out to those who are suffering.

At 2.55pm the kids were still at school, finishing their after school activities. Georgia was on the sports field running and fell over, luckily no grazing just a shock. Chelsea was in the computer lab when all the screens started to jiggle! Ben was the worry for me, he was in the only 2 story class room, one that has a rickety steel stair case bolted to the only exit. A teacher ran up and got all the kids from Mad Science and then all were assembled on the field like a fire drill; good thing we did a fire drill practise last week at school! The driver and the nanny were one block away from collecting the kids and felt nothing as they were driving!

Georgia is still a little freaked out, she is now old enough to suffer from the “what if’ syndrome. She had trouble going to sleep last night in case there were aftershocks - which there weren't:- well that we know about or felt. Georgia had her new phone in the car and was able to ring me just as I went back inside after the earthquake. Poor thing was shook up (literally and figuratively).

The feeling was really strange...like sitting in an inner tube going over irregular waves. It was definitely not a rattle type of shake. I can see a roof top and a building out of my office window, both were swaying...but in different directions! That was freaky. I had no idea what was going on at first...Once I realised it was an earthquake I waited for it to stop, but oh my gosh it did not! The eerie thing is that the quake was silent…I expected to hear loud noise with so much movement. The glass was rattling in the window, but that was all.

My study is upstairs and standing in the door way (remember the old advice always stand in a door way-bollocks) was ridiculous. It never occurred to me to get under the desk; it seemed to start to slow down so I decided to get outside...the huge window over the stairs has always been a concern. We have discussed in the past with the kids that it is the weak point...the glass falling would be super dangerous. Of course as soon as I got under the window more waves came, I ran down those last steps! I met up with the staff and guards and the next-door neighbours in the street just as it stopped. Over 1.5 minutes of rocking and rolling! I was shaking so badly...but I did manage to plan cocktail party for next week with my neighbour (I am Martha Stewart to the bone). Only a week ago we discussed earthquakes with the kids, under my bed is our upstairs safe spot...it is so solid. There are more cracks in the house, but no damage. Only a few light things fell over, and the pictures are all crooked.

I was very pleased to find that the power stayed on but after an hour the internet went very slow, probably as everyone rushed on the get info.

So all is well...what an experience to talk about when we are all old and gray and in the retirement home!


Below is my stairway of potential doom, the cracks that have been around the window for the last 2 years and the view from my office window.

9 comments:

johnorford said...

great descirption for those of us who haven't a clue what quakes must be like to experience!

Tanya said...

OO err that WAS a big one. Interesting that there were no aftershocks when the last Wellington one at 5.6 produced a lot of 4+ 'babies' for days afterwards. I remember a really long one a few years back in Palmerston North that made the road look like a wavy ribbon and seemed to go on for ages- definately freaky!

Anonymous said...

How scary! I can't even imagine what an earthquake feels like! Glad you're all ok!

The Amazing Trips said...

I'm so glad that you are OK. That WAS a big one. As a resident of California for the past 20 years, I've been in my fair share of EQs - and as a geologist - I'm always fascinated. Until I consider that the entire house could fall down on me...!!!

Adele said...

Good to hear you are all OK. Do you remember the newcastle quake in 1989? 13 killed. My house at Berowra shook and like you said the only noise was the windows rattling and a few things fell.

Kathryn said...

It WAS amazing! We lived in Taipei for 5 years before this and had quakes all the time, but this one went on for soooo long! I was in my classroom when it happened and rushed into my colleague's room next door along with another colleague from the other side and we squeezed ourselves under one of the kids tables! We must have looked a hilarious site - two largish women and one VERY pregnant one squished together - no idea why we didn't go under separate tables! Ha ha! When it died down and the fire alarms went off, I was much relieved to see my hubby carrying my two girls from our house on campus to the clear zone. Annalise's first words to me were "Are the aliens really coming?!" Out of the mouth of 4 year olds!!

alice said...

hello there.
coincidentally found your blog through blog hopping. very inspiring to me, a local born and bread here in jakarta, to read your daily life, stories, etc. I hope you and your fam enjoy staying in Jakarta. I had been living in Sydney for couple of years to study,and wish that i could stay there. However, life does not always provide what you wish for, so here I am, living in a city of traffic and flood :). Very happy to find you, an australian happily here(at least that's the impression of this blog) :). cheers

alice said...

share my experience a bit if you dont mind, i was at my office building at 35th floor during the earthquake. and since we are in a higher floor, we even felt it more shaky! :)
not to mention that my room is on the edge of the building that is made from glass. we managed to go down thru emergency stair. and it took us about 1/2 hour. and even got "more shaky" when we reached ground floor. :) cheers

Comyn said...

This reassures me. We have friends there with whom we cannot communicate just now. Not having a television, I had seen no images. I have begun to feel concerned.