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Tsunami alert

By 29. September 2009 Oceania No Comments

Whilst collecting Birthday emails, we overheard a conversation from some Samoan athletes who are here participating in the Pacific Mini-games, that there had been a large earthquake near Samoa and people had died. A remark “I hope it doesn’t head this way” made us wonder what they meant. Looking on the BBC site we found that the Pacific area was under Tsunami alert. Apparently the last tsunami that hit in this area happened in 1935 and took out one corner of Rarotonga. As we walked along the sea front, shops were boarding up and people were heading to the hills. Apparently there had been much larger waves that morning and then the reef started to drain water as the sea retreated. This had prompted the airport to close. Fortunately we are staying in land on higher ground so we headed home. On the way we met 2 Kiwi’s getting married this Friday on the island, as they were very uncertain of the situation, they tagged along with us. There was quite a gathering of people when we got home and we all sat listening to the radio and TV, catching news and predictions of what might happen. There was no panic but it was very interesting to see the emotions people were going through with the uncertainty of the situation. After a couple of hours the news that the alert had been called off came through, there had been a 1 metre swell but no more large waves …. the simple island life resumed, except now everyone had a story to tell.

The next day in the newspaper we found that if a tsunami had hit Rarotonga they estimated that it would have been around at 9.30am. At this time we would have either been at the Telecom centre collecting emails (close to the shore) or walking along the sea front!

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