Saturday, October 03, 2009

My island home

Got a walk to blog this week but will leave it for when I come back (24th October) in favour of looking at why Australia had two wee tiny earth tremors while Sumatra is a crumbling ruin and half Samoa’s kids were washed away in a tidal wave.

Earthquake epicentres
(Maps from Wiki Creative Commons)

Those big black lines are where there’s frequent and/or bad earthquakes. Australia's got a fair few dots but this map shows all quakes from 1963 to 1998 not just bad ones.

You can't even see New Zealand and New Guinea and Japan. That's how many quakes they have.

World volcano map
(Actually a volcano map but clearer.)

Notice how the quake lines go round Australia and don’t touch it. New Zealand is over there to the right of Australia and down a bit, right on the edge. That line on it is why it’s known as the Shaky Isles.

South-east Asia

There’s been some medium-sized earthquakes in South East Asia (the green bits) over the past couple of weeks.

Then there was the 8 off Samoa on Wednesday and the tidal waves from it hit Western Samoa (2 left dots), American Samoa (single right dot) and Tonga.

Samoan earthquake epicentre

Video simulation of the tidal wave from the earthquake

Panic button

South-east Asia

Then a big quake hit Sumatra and pretty much wrecked it. They’re still searching for survivors in the rubble there. Not so much in Samoa now. Only bodies are being found there now.

There’s a bit of a Samoan and Tongan community in Australia. Some of our best rugby players are from Samoa and Tonga and both are small countries that just don't have the resources to provide the bright lights big city thing yer average young adult wants.

New Zealand also has a bit of a Samoan and Tongan community and so the same scenes have been on the news there as well as here: weeping anxious stunned people flying home to bury their families. One poor bugger showed a picture of her extended family. 21 of them were dead. That left 2 or 3 people in that photo alive.

Tonga also got hit by tidal waves from the same earthquake. Less powerful waves but people were killed there too and there too the land was stripped and made barren by the sea salt dumped on it.

Samoa lost a lot of kids. Surviving adults told of how the force of the water was so great it ripped their kids from their arms. Christ.

Samoa and Tonga don’t have the numbers of emergency services personnel to cope with this sort of thing. We do. Australia has been sending RAAF Hercules aircraft loaded with supplies, doctors and trained emergency workers. New Zealand has been doing the same.

Samoa's population is about 250,000, Tonga's about 101,991, Sumatra has heaps of peeps but the political situation there affects the emergency services.

Yesterday I overheard some wanker complaining about our sending help to “all these pissy little places”. Like hello! One, we can afford to be nice, two, we need their rugby champions to help us beat New Zealand and, three, who else are our emergency services practice going to practice on?

Australian survivors...have urged people to continue sending aid (videos & photos)

Another powerful earthquake hits off Tonga, Samoan

Red Cross for donations to Samoa & Tonga

Red Cross for donations to Sumatra

Red Cross for donations to the Philippines (copped fatal flooding & about to get hit by another cyclone/hurricane)

I shall return

24th of October. I'm off for a badly needed holiday in which I intend to lay about in my underpants with my mobile and my brain both switched off and anyone who says the W word (work) will be stoned to death. If I can get up the energy.

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