29/09/2009 – Samoan Earthquake, felt in Vaitele

Tuesday 29th September 2009.

If the Appearance of Maria/St Theresa and the Burning of the Kitano was any indication of something about to happen..not to mention the Road Switch – we had thought that the ‘bad things come in three’ was over.

Until the morning.. I fell out of bed. (and I was not wasted)

7 am-ish (because my clock is always wrong I’m not sure what the real time was)

– First Earthquake – I fell out of bed, walked outside of the house where my Grandma and my cousin were standing. I went back to bed. (seriously, minor earthquakes happen every couple of months) and I was tired. I just finished watching the last disc of Gossip Girl’s Season 2. I was kinda pissed off that Chuck took ages to finally tell Blair that he loves her. (We don’t get GG on T.V and I’ve had the Dvd’s for awhile) Now, I will never forget it.

(10 Minutes Later) – (After getting back into bed) the Second Earthquake (although shorter) really pissed me off. I checked to see if my Grandma was ok – she was up now and making her morning coffee. I got a text from Kevin, he said that he was on his way to work and the Police told his driver (he has a driver to get to work LOL) that Apia was closed. So I texted Mel and asked her if this applied to me too – Yes! No work! (fingers crossed) – I expected this as there is usually an evacuation on the Government Building (i) Due to its size (ii) Number of inhabitants (over 1000 people, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers)

8:00am – Mel texted back, there was no work today – apparently she was on her way to work in a taxi when they drove past Samoa College, the kids were leaving school. My original text was just “Is there any work today” and she just replied “Hell no”.

8:01am – Excited there was a day off I walked outside to see where my Nana had got to – she had switched on the Radio and the magnitude of the situation was realised. There was a body count of 3 confirmed dead via Talofa FM (Samoan Station)

8:05am – Switched on my radio inside the house and tuned into ABC Radio, the Australian-Accented presenter was speaking with a rep from American Samoa (Pago Pago) about the Tsunami affected area of the American Samoan Airport. He reported that there was just debris left to be cleared away. I was in shock, but still did not see this a big deal. (or at least, was not mentally ready to handle this situation in my brain before I had my first cigarette)

8:10am – After my cigarette, the cell phone started with an influx of text messages. “R U DEAD” texts were received. Typical Samoan Attitude, for some reason, a humorous response to the situation was the way to go – at this early stage. I replied. “Yes.”

8:15am – The location of Aleipata was mentioned on my Nana’s Samoan radio station – I tried to think of anyone I knew from there – I didn’t, except for Tipo who worked in our Finance division and I called her. She answered, she wasn’t in Kua as she stayed in town during the week for work (as most workers from the outer villages do) Palisi and the Village leaders have already told them to evacuate to the mountain area of Palisi. She sounded like she had finished crying, her village was suffering – the reality of the earthquake finally hit home.

8:20am – Onwards – Mindless housework, Answering the home phone from concerned family in New Zealand and Australia.

10:00am – Kevin asked for a ride to pick up his sister – the village of Vaimoso was evacuated to the St Joseph’s Highschool field area – radio was communicating the different evacuation areas, including the Tuanaimato Sport Fields (SPG Games Venue), St Joseph’s High School, the University of the South Pacific in Alafua – all higher level ground close to Apia central.

10:30am – Tsunami Warning was cancelled by the Samoa Government, Public advised not to worry.

11:00am – Body count up to 31 in the Apia Hospital Morgue.

11:30am – Arrived home from dropping off Kevin’s family to his Flat in Siusega. (next to Vaitele – my hood)

12:00am – The warning was dropped, so Kevin and I decided to get on with the day – we drove to find a DVD store open – we had nothing to do. Driving from Vaitele towards Pesega, the roads were relatively empty, I had thought that there would be mayhem on the roads – noticed that there were no buses and less taxis, and even less Policeman or representatives of the Government to direct the public.

12:30pm – No luck, we decided to just buy food from Craig’s in Lotopa. The store was packed, it looked as if it was the only store around the area that was open. People were stocking up on essential items – preparation for things that may come.

1:00pm – Kevin fell asleep after starting to read “New Moon” – and I just played around on my laptop and pretending to sing Karaoke. Yes. We were bored. We felt stupid without work and everything in Samoa closed – The t.v wasn’t any better – TV1 and TV3 were playing Church services. Either, very inappropriate (as we were still unaware of what was happening in our country).. or very appropriate – whichever way you look at it.

1:30pm – I fell asleep. In between the text messages, there were no phone calls coming through and it was hard to get a line out.

3:00pm- Woke up. 100+ Reported Dead. I started cooking.

3:30pm – Another Tsunami warning was put out (after the public being told that there was nothing to worry about)

3:40pm – Woke up Kevin, Kevin needed to pick up the rest of his family. This drive to Vaimoso was different, everyone was on the road holding Suitcases and pillows, blankets and pots of food. (a funny sight to see that in Vaiusu there were still some Samoans oblivious to the fact that there may be life-threatening event and who were mowing their lawn and others playing volleyball as the rest of the neighbours were carrying their whole lives on their shoulders)

4:00pm – The UTE was loaded with possessions of Kevin’s family, dropped them off to Kevin’s ute – their relief was all over their face. Fear was not in the air, except the fact that- the drills and the precautions that used to be a ‘joke’, were now real.

And it has just begun….

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The constant ramble of a Melbournian in Samoa.

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