Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Photo by Wilson Malone on Pexels.com
I was woken from my sleep a little after 11:00 p.m. last Saturday as my wife, with apprehension in her voice, cried out, “earthquake”.
I had dozed off at the computer maybe an hour or so earlier while watching On Tour, a Cricket show, with Host Barry Wilkinson. Wilkinson and his panel were reviewing the events of Day 1 of the Second Test match between the West Indies and Bangladesh. The highlight of the day was that West Indies batsman Nkrumah Bonner had put West Indies on par against Bangladesh. I remember waking up a few minutes later to put away the laptop while saying to myself that this not how I usually go to bed. Subsequently, I got on my knees and uttered a quick prayer asking God for forgiveness and protection throughout the night.
So after snuggling into bed you can well imagine how dreadfully terrifying it was for me to be suddenly awake only to find the apartment shaking violently. My thoughts immediately flashed upon my son. Without a moment’s hesitation I leapt out of bed, picked him up (still fast asleep) and placed him in on our bed between us. Still utterly frightened, I just lay in bed unable to do anything other than to whisper a silent prayer asking God to keep us safe. As the building continued to sway I heard my wife beside me praying, “Cover me Lord; Cover me.” “Cover me Lord; cover me.” This ordeal, lasting for about 30 seconds, felt like an eternity to me. I cannot express my utter relief when it was finally over. The tremor felt as though it would never end.
It was a 7.3 magnitude temblor that shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures just weeks before the 10th anniversary of a quake on March 11, 2011 that devastated northeast Japan and triggered a massive tsunami leading to the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century. The quake did not cause a tsunami this time around because the epicentre was deep at 55 kilometres (34 miles) beneath the ocean.
Noriko Kamaya, a Japan Meteorological Agency spokesperson, said in a news conference that the quake is considered to be an aftershock of the 9.1 magnitude quake in 2011.
Throughout my lifespan I have experienced a fair bit of earthquakes both in Jamaica and in Japan. However, this was the most intense I had ever felt. It reminded me of those teen years growing up in Jamaica when I would climb maybe a mango tree, a star apple tree, an ackee tree, or an apple tree. There were countless occasions during those years when I had to venture out on a tiny limb in an attempt to get to one of those juicy ripe fruits.
As was the case on some of those adventures, nature seemed to be making fun of me; because as soon as I was out on one of those tiny limbs a strong gust of wind would suddenly start. It was devastating to say the least, because I would be out on that limb, swaying in the wind, holding on for dear life, hoping the wind would soon stop. In those instances I dared not budge as any wrong move could prove catastrophic.
This was how utterly powerless and terrified I felt during the quake which continued for what felt like an eternity to me.