Photo: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT
Summary of what Dr. Molinelli (eminent geomorphologist of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus) said on Radio Isla. Everyone should read it.
✔️He says that people must be moved from the most vulnerable areas because the thousands of people who are approaching either to help or to find out are putting their lives and those of other refugees at risk.
It will continue to shake and in case of another stronger earthquake, the panorama can be seriously complicated due to the number of people who are there at this time.
We all want to go south. We all want to help. But as our help is more effective it is taking our contributions to serious brigades that we know. Not throwing us there.
✔️A well-built building that has followed the codes, is as safe as an earthy house and safer than a poorly constructed house.
During the earthquake do not take elevators or go down the stairs. Stay crouched until the earthquake passes. Then go down the stairs quickly.
After the earthquake has passed, you can go out and check if you have cracks in your home to see if you can stay there. Turn off gas and disconnect electricity and start taking water jugs because it is very possible that after this you run out of it.
Step 1 before the backpack to verify if the structure where you live has followed the building codes.
Old San Juan, (about Las Fiestas de San Sebastian), has, at the moment the same risk it has always had. This recent natural activity does not increase the risks. It will be wise to wait until today Monday to make the decision.
Children in schools, never place themselves under the desks. They will be crushed. He says that in schools instead of children having desks should have strong tables where everyone can get under.
There are solutions for short columns in schools. He suggests a type of concrete cabinet that supports the column.
Find out how trained your children’s teachers are. If they know how to give first aid. Find out if there is a plan at school.
Don’t get under trees. Branches that have become weak or loose due to Maria could fall on you.
If you are in the car and an earthquake happens, you will feel as if you had an empty tire or if the car is derailing. Never stop waiting for the earthquake to pass under a bridge. Verify that you have no wires touching the car. Do not walk between cars.
✔️He says that most buildings will not collapse (including hospitals).
10% chance of having an earthquake up to 6.0, like the ones we have already had.
1% or less likely to be higher.
Backpack preparation is secondary to a community preparation.
Gather your neighbors. Find out who is a doctor, or a mason, who has a crane. Identify your old and single people. Make a profile of your community. That is the most important.
We have to develop a seismic consciousness. If you are going to eat somewhere, you don’t sit near windows or things that might fall on you.
If you are crouched under a table, hold on to one of the legs because the movement can move it and you can be exposed.
In the worst case scenario, the Island will not be destroyed. It will remain standing. No tsunami covers Puerto Rico. Our land is solid and firm.
What is happening is new to the country but it is natural.
Less fear and more planning.
No matter how much we criticise the government and local authorities, it will be very difficult for a developing nation to respond to the challenges of major, cataclysmic events completely prepared. Hence, my lesson from this unfortunate disaster is — to first know and understand why earthquake takes place and how best can one respond to such events under challenging situations. I have learnt to enquire about the seismic level zone where an individual resides, the quality of the construction materials of the buildings, road conditions, and based on that to roughly evaluate how vulnerable they could be if an incident like this takes place again. Also I have learnt to have an emergency kit bag available at my disposal with some emergency contacts, local currency, first aid supplies and necessary medicine, important identification and bank documents, extra clothing, dry food, a torch, pen and note. And the bag content is updated after every three months; and is handy enough to be carried as a backpack while evacuating a facility or a building.
— Saikat Kumar Basu, Lethbridge AB Canada T1J 4B3
For more life experiences from other earthquake survivors and people that lived through an earthquake and its aftershocks: https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/life-lessons-earthquake/