Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti unbelievableness.

I just read an updated report on MSN about Haiti and the earthquake. Sounds like they were able to get the airport to a point where planes can fly in and out, so that's good.

But then I read that the Prime Minister is guessing at a death toll of 500,000 right now. Which is just so ridiculously sad, it's made me numb to think about it. And I don't even KNOW anyone in Haiti/of Haitian descent!

I "survived" the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 while living in Malibu, CA. I had driven home from my boyfriend's house at about 2 or 2:30 a.m., and remember looking out over the valley as I drove from Pasadena over the hill into Burbank and thought about how peaceful it all looked at that hour. Little did I know what kind of mayhem would rock that peaceful valley just a couple of short hours later, pinning me to my college campus for the next several days, two of which were without any power.

It was "just" a 6.7, although for a short time there was speculation that it had been stronger than that...I think initial reports were putting it at a 7.2, if I recall correctly. (Some of us gathered around our cars to listen to news reports on our car radios, instead of staying inside the building and listening to the reports on our steroes. It was the only time I've ever been afraid to be inside after an earthquake happened. Maybe because it was the first time I was forced to be an adult in a disasterous situation like that...I dunno. Growing up, mom and dad always just went to bed again after an earthquake - hell, dad often didn't even wake up for them in the first place! Earthquakes were evil like that - striking at night when we were trying to sleep, and forcing us to try to go back to bed with a racing heart and a scared brain.) The damage that occurred with it being just a 6.7 was horrendous enough, IMO. If it had been a 7.2, the damage might have been catastrophically different, in retrospect. Each point on the richter scale represents a significant difference as the numbers go up. I remember learning about it when I took a geology course in college, and thinking, "Damn. No wonder everyone is so worried about the Big One hitting!" It's hard for me to understand the science of it all, but if you're into that sort of thing, this wikipedia article seems to hit the major points.

And for those of you in the midwest thinking that people who choose to live in California are shmucks for living under the possible threat that the San Andreas and Whittier faults pose to them, you might wanna do some research on the New Madrid fault. Learn yourself a bit. Oh, and I'm a fan of the technique where you get next to a sturdy object to duck and cover should you be inside when an earthquake hits, instead of under it. Studies have shown that it's more likely that a table or bed will collapse on top of you when debris falls on it, thereby crushing everything under it. If you're next to the table or bed or couch, there's more of a chance that you will remain in a pocket of space/air that naturally occurs in such a situation. True, there's also the chance that you'll get crushed by whatever is falling from above you...but just try to get next to the couch that isn't underneath a cast iron tub, or whatever, and you should be able to crawl out in tact.

My heart goes out to the Haitians. I hope that anyone who has family or friends there are doing ok right're definitely in everyone's thoughts, if that helps in any small way!


Ms. Pants said...

I was home for the holiday when Northridge hit. I'll blog about that in a bit. There is a bit of a funny that goes along with.

But I hear you. I want to go fucking postal every time I hear someone pass along the myth that "California will fall into the ocean." The fault lines are all strike-slip faults, meaning California will wind up in Canada in eleventine gerbillion years, not at the bottom of the ocean.

When I heard it was a 7-something in Haiti, I immediatley thought of Northridge cos I knew it was a 5 or 6 something and did major damage. Haiti isn't really known for its earthquake retrofitting. Seeing the Northridge damage first hand, and being in a mostly retrofitted area, I knew immediately that Haiti had been just out and out levelled.

So very very sad.

Faith said...

I was just looking at a bunch of AP photos of it all via a link from Airing of Grievances. It's very difficult to look at those pictures. Very.

faithstwin said...

I can't look at any of the photos. I saw a bit of news earlier where a camera guy was just standing there filming while some other guy was doing everything he could to get a man unpinned from rubble- he was white with dust, his head was bleeding and it looked like his legs were crushed. I don't care WHAT kind of a person you are: continuing filming while someone is in obvious anguish and another is helpless without more hands? Disgusting.

Those poor people.

An aquaintance of mine (Oldest and her daughter are friends) is the lead of a group of people here who go to these disasters (she is literally head of the team that goes out when the President orders additional support outside of the military)- she has worked with everything from Katrina to the tsunamis a few years ago... I do not envy the images they will be living with from helping with this crisis.

faithstwin said...

Hey MSN has a death toll estimate at 50k right now- I think they mistakenly said 500k yesterday. That would be - well, I don't have words for that.

Did you see that whole mess with the televangelist what's-his-name saying God has been punishing Haiti for YEARS because of a pact they made with the devil? I know he says it was just based on a legend, but what kind of idiot says such a thing?

Faith said...

Pat Robertson. Yes. HE'S the kind of idiot that would say such a thing. You need to look up some of the other unbelieveable shit Pat's said in the recent past. He's a fucking moron.

It was the Prime Minister who said that he was guessing at 500,000 dead. Of course, it would be impossible to say at this point, so it was as literal a guess as they come, but still...the thought of it was mind-numbing!