Friday, 2 October 2009

a week of Destruction and Devastation

The Philippines, Indonesia and the Samoan Islands have seen their share of events over the past several days, including previous Tropical Storm Ketsana and a series of earthquakes that has left potentially thousands dead.

The above image shows were these area's are in relation to each other. Samoa being on the far right, Indonesia and Singapore over to the left and the Philippines in the middle.

Just since we moved to Singapore in February 2007 there have been a few major earthquakes in the Sumatra region of Indonesia..... we have felt three of them out as far as Bukit Batok where we live in Singapore. Yesterday (Oct 1) would have been the strongest and the scariest. But nothing compared to what the people of Indonesia have been going through.

In the past couple of years the major ones have occurred in March and September 2007, February 2008 and now another two within the past few days.

The first of the recent great earthquakes, a magnitude 9.2 in December 2004, produced the most widespread and destructive tsunami in living memory. The cause of that calamity was the rupture of a 1600-km-long piece of the Sunda megathrust, a 6,000-km-long active fault that dives gently landward from the seafloor a couple hundred kilometers offshore of Myanmar, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. The section that broke in 2004 is a northern portion, between southernmost Myanmar and Aceh province in Sumatra. 230,000 people were killed in December 2004 ..... an unbelievable number of people.

The 2009 Padang earthquake occurred just off the southern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The major shock hit at 17:16:10 local time on September 30, 2009 It registered a moment magnitude of 7.6 making it similar in size to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the 1935 Quetta earthquake, the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

The epicenter was 45 kilometres (28 mi) west-northwest of Padang, Sumatra, and 220 kilometres (140 mi) southwest of Pekanbaru, Sumatra. At least 1100 people were killed as a result, with thousands more trapped in collapsed buildings.

A second earthquake, which measured 6.6 Mw, struck the province of Jambi in central Sumatra, 08:52:29 local time on 1 October 2009 at a depth of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), about 46 kilometres south-east of Sungaipenuh. It is not yet clear whether the two events are related.

Sumatra and Samoa earthquakes were inside the 'Ring of Fire' fault lines..... as seen in this image below:

The world's most quake-prone regions are located around the Pacific Ocean from Japan down to the Philippines and Indonesia and in the Americas, from Alaska to Chile, giving name to the Pacific 'Ring of Fire,' where about 90 per cent of the world's earthquakes occur.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation and one of the world's most quake-prone countries, sits on the Ring of Fire. Off Sumatra island, the Indo-Australian plate is pushing underneath the Eurasian plate, which extends as far as Sumatra.

Each year, the Indo-Australian plate moves up to 7 centimetres north-east.

Both earthquakes, which came within hours of each other, were on the “Ring of Fire”, fault lines along the Pacific coasts of America and Asia. But scientists said that the second was a “tragic coincidence” rather than a consequence of the first.

The Ring of Fire is an arc made up of volcanoes and undersea trenches located around most of the rim of the Pacific Ocean. The volcanoes and trenches mark areas where subduction takes place. As plates collide at these subduction zones, the seafloor dives underground at the trench and generates earthquakes that in turn can cause tsunamis. Sumatra, Indonesia, where the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami first hit, is located on the Ring of Fire.

Image below is from the most recent earthquake in Sumatra ..... two women waiting for news of their loved ones.

Please keep the people of the Philippines, the Indonesians, the Samoans and all that are affected in some form or another in these areas - in your prayers.


Camille, Blake, Pierce and baby Asher said...

You know me... I am on my knees.

Leone Fabre said...

Camille, yes and I know you are.

Thank you.

What is sad is that many people will read about these events, but "it hasn't happened to us so we don't have to worry"...... or to some it might be happening on the other side of the world so is "of no concern".

But for us and others here in Singapore, we know of these people, we know the struggles and what they go through, what they do to survive ... they are in our hearts.

and we bleed too.

Tanya said...

We have lived in both Samoa (as you know) and in Indonesia so when these things happen we feel intimately connected. We are still hearing back from people in Samoa. One we know was swept away but many others have lost homes and extended family including children in fact its beginning to feel like its mostly children which is heartbreaking. The kids were just playing at the beach before school like normal and dispite their parents/ aunts etc best efforts just got pulled away. I have cried a lot in the past couple of days. Both the Samoans and the Indonesians are such giving people.

Andrea said...

Great post!!

"What is sad is that many people will read about these events, but "it hasn't happened to us so we don't have to worry"...... or to some it might be happening on the other side of the world so is "of no concern"."

I agree that it is sad that people don't seem concerned but I must tell you that I didn't even know where Singapore was on the map before we decided to move here. That’s sad… Often, we live in a bubble and living in “our world” is all we can manage. I regret that I'm not and have not been as informed as I should be, however, we all are incapable of being concerned about things we know nothing about. The world is a very big place with a variety of issues to be concerned with and hopefully, a variety of people to take care of those issues.

If we know of something and choose not to be concerned then that is truly sad as you say. Now, I know, and I must choose what to do with that knowledge.

It is with the greatest of respect for you and with sincere humility and self-reflection that I write this. I hope I haven’t distracted your readers from the point of your post. We need to pray for these people, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends... and do what is within our individual realm of possibility to help them. They are suffering hardship beyond what I can fathom.

Leone Fabre said...

Thanks Andrea ..... I perhaps should have made myself a little clearer. "For those that know and are aware of these Asian countries".

We cannot expect everyone to know where every country or region is... it would be impossible .... but we should be 'aware' of the area's that we choose to reside in... to learn about them, to understand the people, to respect the culture's .... that's why we study or read about these area's we intend to live in.

A friend (that recently returned to live in Texas) also had not heard of Singapore.... she had a steep learning curve, like you must have done!!

But for those that know of these area's and choose to ignore the plight of the people - then it is for them that perhaps we should be praying - to have more compassion.