The ring of fire

Reuters image

Reuters image

Yesterday was a crazy day! It started off by Keith leaving for his day visit with the Tieta Tribe. Seth and I did our morning stuff and headed to the Discount to buy a few things. It was hard to buy things because a lot of the things we were looking were not there.

After lunch we set up a fort to read books in. I could hear my phone buzzing but I ignored it. I put Seth down for his nap and only then did I check it out. Sure enough there were three messages. One from an old friend in Canada, another from a group here in Koné and another from a friend here. All said the same thing…there is a tsunami warning! A what? You have got to be kidding me but sure enough it was true. I turned on the TV and checked Caledonie 1ere, there it was running across the screen, tsunami alert evacuate all beaches and practice extreme vigilance. I have to admit all the the hair on my arms stood up. A cyclone and then a tsunami? Where am I living? After a minute of panic, I texted Keith. Be safe and drive home safe. I knew he was in the tribe so I assumed he had his phone off. I checked CBC…really out of habit, since it’s on the other side of the world. It too had breaking news, an earthquake registering 8.0 had happened 3kms deep about 400kms off the coast of the Solomon islands, this was inturn causing this South Pacific wide tsunami alert.  And what island lay the closest South to the Solomons? Why, New Caledonia! After an hour CNN was reporting that the quake happened much deeper in the ocean about 30 kms instead of 3 which would mean the tsunami would be much much weaker. Phew! It was almost 6pm before the official alert was called of but the east side of the island and the Loyalty Islands did see the water rise. But luckily everyone was safe.

The headlines in today’s paper said the tsunami brought on a tsunami of questions because in some communities such as Poindimé and on the islands the tsunami sirens did not work. I guess it was like a fire drill at school, you need to be prepared in case it is a real threat next time. I guess I thought of cyclones before moving here but not of earthquakes and tsunamis. I started to ponder what is the seizmic activity like here? I come to realise after reading that we live in the ring of fire. That is the horse shoe area that touches the west coast of North America and the South Pacific. I guess I will chalk the whole day up to just another day in the  South Pacific!

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