Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Earthquake!!!

After sent Vernon home, decided to stop over and take a dump because sakit perut. It was just about midnight.

Next thing I know, he calls me and starts screaming about how his building shook. Told him to stay calm and told him to collect his valuables, and go downstairs since he was staying on the 20th floor and find out if anyone else felt it, because I was sure I would have felt it too.

Well, two minutes later he messages me and says that Jakarta was hit by an earthquake, or so he heard.

I called Dudi, Leo's friend, and he said he didn't feel a thing, and that it was rumours. Called my sister in Pantai Dalam, and she said she didn't feel a thing. Vernon calls back and says a friend of his on the way to Penang had it bad as cars were swaying on the road!

Called Aidil in Singapore but couldn't get him. Called the office and they confirmed a quake took place and that tremors were being felt nationwide. Apparently there have been reports from as far south as Klang. Even residents in Sunway, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail and some parts of Ampang felt it. I passed Yow Chuan Plaza and noticed that a crowd was gathering outside.

Switched on the radio people were still freaking on radio claiming tremors felt everywhere! Apparently Bukit Aman has issued a warning at this hour advising those staying in low lying areas in Penang and Kedah to evacuate in fear of a tsunami.

Came back to the office in Balai Berita, Bangsar, and friends told me they felt the tremors too. Twice! So much so everyone freaked and started moving their cars off the multi storey carpark to the ground floor.

In the wake of another tragedy happening, there was a moment for a laugh. TV3's news report apparently kata that they advised people to stay away from the beach and beach related activities!

You mean there could be beach activities at this hour??? Main tepi pantai ke apa???
So I'm back in the office ruing the fact that I missed the tremors (I know it's stupid to say that) and that I didn't get any great shakes after weeks without sex (has it been weeks?)

Anyways...am staying in the office a while sebelum balik in a while. This is the latest update from CNN

U.S. officials were urging residents to evacuate coastal regions in the Indian Ocean after a earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off the coast of Indonesia Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration urged residents within 1,000 kilometers of the epicenter to evacuate coastal regions.

The quake was centered on the same fault line where a December 26 earthquake launched a tsunami that killed at least 175,000 people.

The director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said scientists there feared another tsunami might hit the area.

Charles McCreary said he could not be certain that the quake, which was 203 kilometers (126 miles) from Sibolga on Sumatra Island, would cause a tsunami.

Experts agreed the quake was massive.

"This earthquake has the potential to generate a widely destructive tsunami in the ocean or seas near the earthquake," NOAA said in a statement on its Web site. "Authorities in those regions should be aware of this possibility and take immediate action."

Asked whether evacuations are taking place, USGS spokesman Don Blakeman said, "I certainly hope so."

Thailand issued a warning that the quake could bring a tsunami to its southern provinces. The warning, which was carried on national television, cautioned people in the six provinces to be careful and vigilant, but did not order evacuations.

USGS spokesman Doug Blake said there had been no reports of tsunami activity nearly 90 minutes after the quake struck.

"We're still waiting for any kind of reports," he said.

"At this point in time we don't know what type of fault occurred ... and that is critical information we just don't have yet," he said. "It is in the aftershock zone of the December 26 quake. It's a little bit south, but it's on the same fault."

The quake occurred at 11:09 a.m. ET (1609 GMT), and is considered a "great" earthquake, the largest of seven grades.

The grades are very minor, minor, light, moderate, strong, major and great.

Tsunamis are distinguished from normal coastal surf by their great length and speed. A single wave in a tsunami series might be 160 kilometers (100 miles) long and race across the ocean at 960 kph (600 mph).

When it approaches a coastline, the wave slows dramatically, but it also rises to great heights because the enormous volume of water piles up in shallow coastal bays.

The December 26 quake, measured at magnitude 9, triggered a massive tsunami that devastated Asian and African coastlines in nearly a dozen nations.

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