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April 14th and 16th 2016 Kumamoto earthquake

by - 6:31 PM


Basically I planned to post another article.
Basically I wanted to talk about the second part of my lovely tripin Miyazaki.
But now, while I was writing my article, at 9:26 p.m. local time, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit the island of Kyushu (southwest Japan) where I live and as it was quite a shock I wanted to talk about it.

TV news just after the earthquake
TV news just after the earthquake

Tonight at around 9pm.
The headphones on, I was writing about  how much I loved the Aoshima island landscapes when my iPhone suddenly vibrated and emit an alarm. I didn'T realize immediately, but the large volume of the alarm made ​​me throw my headphones on the floor, get up and grab my phone.

Earthquake alarm, Japan
"eminent earthquake, becareful of strong shaking"
Ten seconds later and it started to shake. The horizontal shaking intensified so much that I wondered if I had to hide under my desk. Thirty seconds later and it was over. I got a message from Daisuke that was in the library: he is fine. A quick glance on Line and Facebook will confirm that my Fukuoka and Kyushu friends are also safe.
At that time I thought about the conversation I had two weeks ago with a French man living here. We talked about the Kego fault which is corrsing Fukuoka from north to south and I thought that the earthquake occurred there.
Then I turn on the television that contradict me: the epicenter was located further south in Kumamoto (pink region on the maps). A level 7, the maximum of the Japanese scale and a depth of 10km.In A Fukuoka it was a level 4.
Kumamoto? That's amazing. Is this because of Mount Aso ? No a volcano won't occured an earthquake of a such intensity. I stayed hypnotized to the TV. My mind were empty but at the same time i was thinking about various things
Than Daisuke finally came back home. The minutes pass and aftershocks of more or less intensive succeed. Television, still on, loop the latest information and repeats the same word: igai (意外, unexpected, surprise).

Map from Japan Meteorological Agency
Map from Japan Meteorological Agency
Unexpected because Kyushu is one of the area where there are only rare earthquake. In 4 years in Fukuoka I have felt around 3. When n a building vibrates people would say it's  because of a truck.

I didn't realize quite quickly that it was an earthquake despite the alert. I stood in the middle of the room and in the case of a bigger jolt it could have been dangerous. Althought I know what to do, when you live in an area like Fukuoka it's easy to forget what to do. I don't even own the recommended survival kit (water reserve, precooked rice, dehydrated food, headlamp, battery, ect.) And I don' even know how to turn off the gas! It must be said that we have not thought to ask, of course.
What is ironic is that before-yesterday I was telling a friend how Fukuoka was safe. Nature reminded me the truth. In Japan no place is truly safe.
Tomorrow I will call the gas company and start my survival stock.

Right now (0:52) 3 deaths, around 100 wounded, a lot of damage, fire and gas leaks were reported. I pray that it won't increase overnight.
Oh, I forgot to say but I am fine.
...

Another afterskock just occured. They said on TV that it will continue throughout the week..Let's try to sleep.

16th April 2016 update

Tonight at 1:25 am, I was awakened by the earthquake alarm on my iPhone. This time the tremors were much stronger since it was a 7.1 at the epicenter (Kumamoto ) and a 5- in Fukuoka. Objects have fallen, but no injuries. I am traumatized by the alarm.
The ground continued to shake violently all night alternating between tiny bump and big tremors. I couldn't fall asleep until 5:30, on the floor in the living room, laptop and bag near donned my pillow and jacket put on. Just in case.
At 8:55 this morning my company called me for news. All people I know are fine but it's not fine in Kumamoto . There are more damage, deaths and many injured.

Here is a video I shot while a strong aftershock occured. We here more than can see something but still...
 

Uselful words

Earthquake : jishin (地震)
Aftershock : yoshin (余震)
Magnitude scale : shindô (震度)
Evacuation : hinan (避難)
There is no tsunami risk : tunami no shinpai wa arimasen (津波の心配はありません)

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