February 27, 2010
When the phone rings in the middle of the night it usually isn’t a good thing. This morning my phone rang at 3:34am. It was Scott. There was a tremor in his voice and he told me that there had been a massive earthquake in Chile. He was ok, but the city was a mess he said. He was calling from the Embassy where he was safe, thank God. He said he didn’t know about our stuff, I told him not to worry about that right now, the important thing was that he was safe.
I sent messages to his family and a few of our friends so that they wouldn’t panic when they heard the news in the morning. I searched for a news story and sure enough there it was, Earthquake hits Chile, 8.8. WOW. Haiti’s earthquake was 7.0. In further searching later this afternoon I found this really cool feature from the USGS (US Geological Survey) that gives details about earthquakes all over the world. Go ahead and click it, you’ll be surprised how many were in the US in the past week. This link will take you directly to the summary information for today’s earthquake in Chile.
Scott called back later this afternoon to say that he was definitely not going to be able to live in his apartment again. He said that the structural damage was much worse than he originally thought. He said there are cracks everywhere. Thankfully most of our personal belongings are in tact. He said we lost a few things, but they are all replaceable and again, the most important thing is that he is safe. I’ll admit that I am worried about him because of the PTSD. He had just gotten back to semi normal and now this earthquake, which by the way I think is the thing he feared most in the world. He hated the fact that we lived on the 14th floor in Baku. He wouldn’t even go out on to the balcony. Thankfully, this earthquake happened in Santiago and not in Baku, in Baku I shudder to think about what the outcome might have been. Chile has very strict building codes because of their history of earthquakes. I just heard on the news that there was a 15 story building south of Santiago that collapsed. The government plans to investigate and if building code was not followed they plan to prosecute to the full extent of the law. Not long before we arrived in Baku a building collapsed. There are codes in Baku too I’m sure, but in that type of political environment it’s hard to tell what is actually enforced.
Scott says that there is a lot of clean up to be done around the Embassy. He said that the earthquake was so strong that it moved a 400 pound safe to the center of the room in his office. He also mentioned that the media was calling and asking really stupid questions, what are those alarms, was there any damage, etc. My suggestion to the media who are calling would be to let the people at the embassy do their jobs, and stop wasting their precious time with such nonsense.
If you are looking for information about an American living in Chile you can utilize this link for contact phone numbers.
As for now the Tsunami warnings for Hawaii have been lifted. There are still aftershocks in Chile, and there likely will be for some time to come. I heard earlier that aftershocks can take place for months and possibly a year to come.