Yesterday we had a little scare here when the news broke about the 7.9 earthquake off Sumatra and the subsequent Tsunami alert that was given by Indonesian officials. This kind of earthquakes are always a bit scary as they are huge and make the world tremble (luckily we didn’t feel anything here in Phuket), but what made it scarier is that it was so much like the 2004 earthquake that devastated the region. It was at about the same location and it was a shallow earthquake just like in 2004, which can cause a lot of big waves.
Right away alarm bells started to ring everywhere. Not only in Indonesia but in the entire region. A Tsunami watch was set up, and we started hearing news that if it would be a real tsunami what time it could hit which part of the island. It was pretty eerie, and something that has not yet happened in the couple of years we lived here. We decided to get a bag ready with our essentials and wait what would happen, watching the news and monitoring social media. Luckily for us, it didn’t result in a Tsunami and at 11pm we were headed to bed safe and sound.
I have to say I am very happy with the technology that exists nowadays. What would you do without it? At the time of the earthquake we received a message immediately (as we’re registered for earthquake alerts), stating a huge earthquake hit in our region and it could become a tsunami that would affect our location. This was around 8pm. From that point onwards the only thing we had to do was keep an eye out on reports and listen to see whether the Thai government would ring the Tsunami sirens (which are scattered across the island). Due to buoys in the sea, they are able to give us, at least, a 20min warning as to whether there is a tsunami coming, giving us plenty of time to head to higher grounds. Luckily we live against a mountain, so the only thing we would need to do, would take our bag and walk up and sit this thing out.
Again – fortunately nothing happened, but I am very happy to know that we have time to prepare if something does. So thank you technology and the Global Earthquake Monitoring Agency USGS to keeping us safe!