This morning, I received an email from my best friend whose family lives in Padang closed to the sea. Her family has evacuated to a safer place because the ground in Padang just keeps on shaking. There were 30 aftershocks following the 8.4 Richter scale-earthquake that struck Bengkulu and Padang in Sumatera, Indonesia, last Wednesday, 12 September 2007.
Talking about earthquake, I can imagine how bad it feels to live in Padang when every now and then the ground shakes and the walls crack here and there. You pray hard that your house will be spared from collapsing while you are on guard 24/7 for the tsunami that may come like a thief in the middle of the night rampaging through your beautiful coastal area along its way. You feel intense every minute of your life. The intensity is higher if you live close to the sea. While trying to stand still on the shaking ground, you've got to prepare for evacuation of your whole family to a higher ground or to somewhere you think is safer. An earthquake which is tagged along with a tsunami warning does bring trauma and sad memories to everyone who has survived the 2004 incident in Aceh.
In Malaysia, we are also on guard of any movement of the ground. In Ipoh, there are 3 reported incidents of huge sinkholes that swallowed part of houses and trees. It's not certain yet if this has a connection with the earthquake that struck Sumatera but the incidents happened before and even at the same time with the earthquake.
As I live in a high building, I am on guard all the time to make sure that I am prepared to evacuate the building a.s.a.p. I feel so intense all the time until I get headache and bit of chest pain. My concern is always my son. I don't dare to leave him alone at home only with my maid. I can't sleep at night and keep on waking up just to check and recheck the situation again and again and I don't even live in Padang or live near the coastal area.
I'm telling you...it's a nightmare living in this kind of situation. So, I can understand how the people in Padang and Bengkulu must be feeling at the moment. All I can do is just to pray for everyone. Be strong! God never leaves you. Have a strong faith in Him.
You know what I really wish at the moment, my dear friend? I wish I was there with you in NZ though I know NZ is also an earthquake prone area. I think Borneo island is quite safe from earthquake but I'm not sure either because the adjacent island, Sulawesi, is prone to an earthquake. So, just be alert all the time.
Check this website to find out where the ground has shook in Indonesia: http://www.bmg.go.id/gempaterkini.asp