Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ring of Fire

It's been an amazing week for geologic activity in the Pacific Rim. Yesterday we had yet another tsunami warning after a quake of nearly 8.0 off Vanuatu. Fortunately, not only did we not get a tsunami, but neither did Vanuatu. The Samoan quake was almost immediately eclipsed in world reportage by the two or three (I've lost count) quakes in Indonesia, and by massive and destructive typhoons in the Philippines. Here locally, there are much bigger Samoan and Philippine communities than Indonesian, so the first quake remains a human interest story as the Samoas dig out from under the rubble. There are some amazing stories of survival being told, as ever when people are pressed to the breaking point. Local relief projects are being ratcheted up among the Samoan and Philippine communities. I wish I could find the news story from Vanuatu, though, which was full of the relief of their reprieve from disaster. On one island, everyone hiked to the highest point and waited together for a tsunami that never came. "At least we got some good exercise," said one woman.

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