As you may know, a tsunami warning was issued in the state of Hawaii at around 2am on 27th of February due to the earthquake that struck Chile(8.8 on the ritcher scale)!!!! A similar disaster happened 50 years ago with the largest earthquake ever reported in Chile(9.5 on the ritecher sclae) which triggered a tsunami that caused alot of damage and 61 lives in Hilo, Hawaii...which I DID NOT KNOW about until I googled it.
The devastation in Hilo when the 1960 tsunami hit
Anyways, this is how my little story went.........being from Malaysia, particularly Petaling Jaya, I have never experienced any natural disaster before, we don't have earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis,etc. So, I basically have never even heard of the term "disaster preparedness" before I came here and the first time I came across it was a handout given to me by the resident manager at my dormitories(which I actually threw away), shouldn't have done that!
My old dormitory where I experienced my first earthquake! And almost slept through it....
Basically, when the tsunami alert went off early yesterday morning, I was fast alseep but I received a few text messages on my phone asking me whether I was alright and that they heard about the tsunami. As I was sleeping so nicely, I just glanced at the message and went back to sleep(I know, why would anyone do that right????) Well......I did!!!! Then at 7.30am, a phone call woke me up from my sleep, it was Auntie Janet....the conversation went as follows:
Auntie Janet: Mei, are you sleeping??? Do you know what happened?
Me: Erm..... is it something about a tsunami?
Auntie Janet: Yes, they just issued a tsunami warning to move to higher grounds if you are at the low-lands....
Me: Why????(Forgive me guys, I was in a sleep-induced state)
Auntie Janet: Because a tsunami is expected to hit at 11am and even the Waikiki and Ala Moana area has been evacuated.....
Me: Oh......(wait, then I hear Ala Moana being closed and sat right up), what should I do???????????
Auntie Janet: I think you should get up! Go and stock up on food and pump some gas.....
Me: Why????????(In my mind, it's just a tsunami, it doesn't mean there won't be food right????)
Auntie Janet: Because the electricity might be shut off due to the tsunami and you might not have enough canned food to last you through and the gas is for travelling to higher grounds....go and watch your tv...
So, I finally got up , woke Gen up and drove to the store. In my mind this whole time, I was thinking, "How serious can it get right???"
Well.......I guessed alot of people thought it was serious because the grocery store and gas station was swamped with people, hardly any water,bread or canned food left, and I saw people carrying car loads of food!!! My gosh!!! As for Gen and I, erm....................we bought Oreos, chococolate chip cookies, one can food(which is the item I should buy most but got the least), and a few other dessert items and snacks......(I was contemplating on ice cream)...I know!!! What is wrong with me??????? No sense of urgency!
The story gets better.....................there was this annoying noise when we got back to the apartment, somewhat like a loud siren...Gen and I walked out to our balcony to see what's happening, guess what we did????????? We didn't see anything so we walked back in and carried on with doing our own things, like it was such a normal thing for a siren that LOUD to ring on a Saturday morning......hehehe...(IT was actually a warning siren that the tsunami is coming or something???)
Anyways, I waited for the alleged tsunami to happened but nothing happened at all, just a few normal looking waves hitting the shore. I actually felt bad for the earthquake victims of Chile because all the major news network was waiting for the predicted "tsunami" to hit and airing Hawaii live(e.g., CNN) whereas hardly any news was reported on Chile!!! ANDDDD NOTHING HAPPENED!!! I mean...I am thankful that the state warned us of an impending tsunami but........it is slightly embarrassing that the whole world was watching and nothing happened...................aiks!
Anyhow, my little story here is for people out there to not take things as lightly as me, I thought about it, what if something did happened??????? I experienced my first earthquake here before, and I didn't know what was happening....I was sleeping again, woke up because the room was shaking, fell back alseep because I thought I was dreaming and didn't even wake up when bottles fell on my head. The only time I woke up was when other dormitory people shouted "earthquake", evacuate the building!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can laugh about it now......but you never know when it is something serious....here is a link I sourced for people who "lack the sense of urgency" like me:
And as an afterthought, please be prepared with stocks such as medical kits, candles, torchlights and items that will assist you when a disaster or something as simple as an electricity outage occurs(I am telling you this because I didn't have any of those until I experienced an electric outage for almost 15 hours here in Hawaii last year).
A sample disaster preparedness kit
Take care people and be safe:)