Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Quake & Silence

At around 2:20 pm today, my chair trembled and moved on its own.

In the few seconds that followed, I closed my eyes and soaked in that familiar, dreadful silence.

Two years ago, on 7 March 2011, I was on my dining chair having a late lunch at Tsukuba-U when the 'biggest earthquake in recorded history' hit us in Japan. In the hours, days and weeks that followed, we moved from one evacuation center to another; struggled to access food and drinking water...and yet considered ourselves very, very fortunate to be a few dozen miles away from the tsunami that  devastated the Tohoku coastline left about 18,000 people dead or missing.

Today's tremors ended in a few seconds but the same old questions dangled in the silence: where was the epicenter? How many houses have come crashing down? How many lives have been lost?

The simple fact that the lights were still on and that the networks were still working told us that the tragedy had taken place somewhere far away. Still, nothing turned up on the internet until Reuters posted an twitter-update ten minutes later.

The complete story is now in -- that far-away-place is called Khash in South-East Iran. At 7.8 magnitude "more than 30 people are reported dead".

I set aside my nightmares, pull back my chair and get to work again...


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