Saturday, May 06, 2006

Don't Panic!

Apparently the big earthquake that hit Tonga earlier this week was felt in Wellington - and it even woke Fran up - but not altogether surprisingly I slept through it all and it was co-incidence more than anything else that I'd even had the news on to know before I read Liz's comment as to what earthquake she was referring to!

There has been a big to do here as people are complaining on talkback radio and so on (radio version of tabloid journalism basically) that they got warning of the impending tsunami (all 40cm of it in the end) from relatives in USA or Britain rather than from the 'authorities' here.

Quick recap - this earthquake happened in the middle of the night when all sensible people were tucked up getting their beauty sleep. It was daytime elsewhere so of course people had the news on and alerted their rellies. As Fran said she told her dad (in southern England) from Wellington about the London bombings - as it hit the evening news here pretty much as it happened which she was watching.

Fairly soon after the initial alert it was realised that the tsunami was going to be much smaller than originally feared so panic over, we don't need to worry people and get half of coastal North Island out of their beds. Ok so Gisborne got to practice evacuation procedures anyway and the country discovered when there was nothing big to worry about where some of the holes were in the national communication systems are. But if the most people have to complain about was not being told quickly enough that the danger wasn't that great after all, or not being woken up to be told that apparently there had been thought to be a risk but now there there isn't one so you can all go back to sleep again... then I reckon things aren't that bad. Altho' at the back of my mind there lurks memories of the hurricane in '87 that hit Britain despite the Met Office assurances that it wouldn't and warnings from concerned members of the public saying that it would...

Ah well, I guess I'll find out what's been come up with at the next Civil Defence Meeting - it'll be interesting to see if any more volunteers turn up!


Pete said...

Yes. My parents in Whangarei were woken at 5:00AM by a telephone call from my worried aunt in the USA, rather than by water seeping in the windows.

John Crowther said...

Funny how that sort of thing happens. I remember being in Mexico in January 2003 when an earthquake hit (fortunately a long way from where I was). The first I knew about it was when my sister e-mailed me from the UK to see if I was alright.