for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quake... quake... rumors quake

The September 18 earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale came with a big shock. It was the strongest tremor I experienced. I was walking when the tremors came. It was quite strong that I could hear the creaking sounds from the nearby buildings. Lucky this time as no severe damages or casualties were reported. We are so thankful to the King and the Prime minister for their support and reassurance during such a time.

My family was safe in the open space but the students were in a deep chaos. I rushed up to the MPH as all students were in the MPH and were about to enjoy their dinner when the earthquake hit. The disaster drills were of little use as the students all rushed out. And this rushing act caused most accidents. By the time we reached the MPH, all students were out in the parking. The condition was not good, girls were crying their heart out, boys were chanting mantras, some fainted. I went around and found out that some students were hurt when they were trying to come out. We waited for some time, trying our best to calm them down. Then, we led the students to their respective hostels. We tried to call but the phones didn't function. The crying subsided and we made students to get into their own rooms. This was done after giving instructions for the occurrence of an aftershock.
The injured ones were seen by the health assistants and matrons. some students suffered minor trauma and they were treated with appropriate measures. Everything resolved quite well after 2-3 hours.
Then the worst part of disaster happened-Rumors. People started spreading all kinds of rumors.  The most wide spread rumor was that there would be an aftershock at 11PM. This spread like wildfire, even students heard it. My wife didn't want to sleep as she believed in it and her friend's acceptance ignited the state. As far as my limited knowledge is concerned, there is no technology so far to predict such a case. This rumor spread from Thimphu, I believe. A parent called from Thimphu and told me of this. She requested us to make students sleep outside. Then, some friends shared the same rumor. I didn't believe in it. I know that an aftershock can happen but we can't predict the exact time.
I was alert and checked for potential objects that can fall during an earthquake. Then, I went to bed by 11PM. It was 11PM as I was not able to make my wife believe me than the rumor. My phone still rang but all warned me of the same rumor. I just thanked them for the same and curled back . I was calm but alert.
It is a natural disaster that is sure to happen and it will happen in future. All we can do is be prepared. I agree to human character of panicking but it would be wise if we don't spread rumors. Remember, most casualties are not caused by the earthquake but the panicking, falling objects and weak structures do.

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1 comment:

  1. Great Article,
    Rumors are the one which panics people and kills. I also received similar cautionary notes from relatives for which I answered them not to go with such rumors but at the same time to remain alert, should the after-shock strike again.
    It is hard to believe that people can cook such stories which spread rampantly.
    I think we should remember that, no machine/instrument has been created this far which can predict earth-quake or its after-shock with precision.
    Great piece of writing. Thoroughly enjoyed, keep writing.