Thursday, January 28, 2010

When the Earth Moves

At the moment the horrific earthquake in Haiti is on everyone's mind and in the news. I know people are personally sending donations, but there have also been some community events. The elementary school is holding a bake sale on Saturday at the Co-op and the spaghetti dinner fundraiser last week raised about $2000, which will be matched by the federal government. Daughter P and I had our dinner there. (Daughter A helped serve and clean up.) It was a great night, not only because of the fundraising aspect, but because of the cross-section of the community that attended. It reminded me of the monthly potlucks we used to have in Bamfield. They'd pass the hat and the money would go to some "cause of the month." But I loved it mostly because of the community it created — there were people of all ages (particularly the 20&30-somethings, who you don't often see at these events), the kids dancing to the music and running around the hall, people gathering for a quick bite before going on their Friday-night-way. Makes me think we should do more of this.

The earthquake is also a graphic reminder to those of us who live in an earthquake zone of just what could happen. Yup, we're on the edge here; literally. Earthquakes — and tsunamis — have happened here, and will, at some time, happen again (and again). When you visit, you will notice signs like these:

Never fear. Just follow the signs to safety. You could go this way:

Or perhaps this way:

Or, if you are really confused and despairing, you could just look up:

Seriously, if you are here when a earthquake or tsunami happens, there will be some semblance of a response plan. There is a hard-working team that are up on emergency preparedness for the region. The signs seem to point in one direction or another so it's important to follow them carefully and not second-guess. There's only one road along the very low-lying peninsula and all we need is people being stupid in their cars.

As for the history of earthquakes and tsunamis in the area, Jackie (who is also a geologist) is all over it in this, her post on our "earthquake anniversary," January 26.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, Adrienne! Your photos crack me up...

    The signs themselves are useful in some places. I'm still really worried about the Chestermans area, though. I think the official instructions are still to go into town (5 km or so). If it's a tsunami generated by a quake far away, that's great advice. But if it's our own earthquake, trees will be down and no one will be driving anywhere - people need to have specific instructions of where to go, that they can walk or run to. They may have as little as 15 minutes.

    Also, I haven't checked lately - not sure if you've checked the sign on the highway at the turnoff to the airport? They didn't use to have a sign then pointing to turn right into the airport/golf course... so anyone following the sign would end up at Grice Bay. Oops! I dont think they've fixed that yet.

    That's great that the community dinner went so well - and that the government is matching funds. It's going to be a long and slow project to get Haiti back on track.