Thursday, November 29, 2007

Of Quakes and Tremors!

So something very strange happened to me today. I was sitting at my desk working when I felt a gentle shaking of my chair. Now, if you can imagine it, it was like if someone snuck up behind me, all invisible-like, and started to shake the chair from the left to the right and back again. I kinda tensed up, furrowed my brow and convinced myself that I was imagining things. But the shaking got persistent and I then convinced myself that something supernatural was happening to me (ok. stop it now - quit that snickering!!!). But then the entire workstation began to move and my monitor began to dance. Oh crap, I thought, something is wrong with me! The room is shaking! Then the business manager in the other office yelled... is anyone else's desk moving? It didn't take me long people. I yanked the power cord from my new laptop, grabbed my bag and bolted for the door. I'm not sure how I got through it, whether I opened it or walked through it but I got through it. When we got to the door, the people across the hall were making a mad scramble down the shaking stairs. Fear gripped my heart as memories of the collapsed building catastrophe from late August sprang to mind. You see, back in August, half a building collapsed into an unstable cave in Britons Hill killing a family of five (a mother, father and their three children) and since there are caves all over the island that some buildings are constructed on, my fear was that this building was going to collapse!

Well, we made it outside and realised that there were other people outside at the adjoining clinic. Someone passed and asked if we felt that too. It was then I realised that it wasn't a case of an about to collapse building, but rather tremors from an earthquake. An EARTHQUAKE!!! Gosh, apparently the last time anyone felt a rockin' in Barbados like that was back in 1947. I finally got the courage to go back up the stairs for the rest of my stuff that I left in my haste to get out. I collected my past papers, my car keys and my shoes. I shut down the computer and got the heck out of dodge. Another thing that was equally scary was that the phone system was down across the island. I could not get through to my mother to find out if she and the kids were ok (no school today - THANK GOD!!)The system was jammed with people trying to do exactly what I was trying to do. I think that this is something the authorities need to look at. Well, I made my way to my mother's house, sucessfully beating the traffic jams that expectedly followed. When I got there, my daughter was sleeping - the little darling slept through it all. My son and my mother told me about how the chairs, fans, the tv, the ceiling light and every other thing in the place was shaking. My mother apparently grabbed my daughter and with my son in tow they had bolted outside to safety. Everyone was shook up! In the end, there was building damage and one person was trampled in town and had to get medical attention.

Unfortunately, the people of Martinique who bore the brunt of the quake were not so lucky. Lots of building damamge and one little girl was killed when a wall fell on her. Her seven year old sister is listed in critical condition.

My fear right now is that Barbados won't be prepared for a disaster. If today's tremors could shut down the island and cause the telephone system to go belly up, what would happen heaven forbid in a major disaster was to happen? Well right now, I still feel a little off kilter - like I'm dizzy or something but well past the initial shock. This is something that will be on the lips of Barbadians for a long time coming!

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Oh my!!! This is the first time that I have heard of an earthquake in B'dos.

Sorry to hear about the home in Britton's Hill too. I grew up there.