1/14/2010

It's Not My Fault Line


 This is the view out my window early this morning. The white expanse is the Ottawa River, which forms the border between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. This is my fault line. The odds of there being an earthquake in this area are very high, and they do, in fact, occur quite regularly. The municipal emergency planning exercises are often based on the presumption of a large scale earthquake happening. In the event that it does, it is also presumed that all six dams on the Ottawa River would be fatally damaged, and massive flooding would then occur. This view would then cease to exist.



This map shows the tectonic plates of the earth. If you clasp your hands together, and push very hard, you are simulating what tectonic plates do. Push harder, then quickly pull your hands apart. That swooshing feeling is the earthquake...it occurs when the plates separate, and then whatever's above on the earth's surface rushes in to fill the void. If it's the Rocky Mountains above the shifting plates, then the chances of major damage caused by the vibration and separation is much less than if it's water, and much more porous substances, like volcanic sand. Like exists in Haiti.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western world. Its next door neighbour, Dominican Republic, is considered much better off - by Haitian standards at least.


See, this home has electricity, and I believe, television.



I don't think the  same can be said about this home. These are not sought out dwellings. This is a typical street scene in the Samana region of Dominican Republic. By Canadian standards, it is desperately poor too. I consider all of this from the warm comfort of my home surrounded by gadgets that make my life vastly comfortable. Tonight I will eat well, and sleep in a warm, clean bed, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow will likely offer the same creature comforts.
But before I do, I will visit  http://www.unicef.org/
and I will make a donation so that the people of Haiti may be a little more comfortable too.

10 comments:

robin andrea said...

Roger and I were in the Loma Prieta earthquake in Santa Cruz 1989. We were about 10 miles from the epicenter. Even in the midst of one of the richest communities on the planet, the numbness and shock on the ground after such a thing is amazing. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to experience an earthquake of the magnitude without a secure and reliable infrastructure. It breaks my heart.

Susan said...

Hi Robin -I have experienced a few earthquakes as well - nothing like Haiti's however - and the need to be outside, just lying on the ground and hugging the earth was overwhelming. I can't imagine the devastation in Haiti either -the pictures are terrifying.

Bill S. said...

Thanks for sharing you experiences with us. I have never experience a large quake, but pray for those in Haiti now. And have tried to help some.

Greyscale Territory said...

A wonderful, stirring post! It certainly reminds us that being without the latest gadget is not such a catastrophe in the scheme of things! And lovely photos!

Wolynski said...

Earthquakes in poor countries cause so much more devastation, because of the flimsy buildings, that collapse like cards. And then they don't have the means to rescue people...

Lovely and thoughtful post.

Erin said...

very interesting post...enjoyed.
i have been through a few earthquakes (northridge, whittier narrows, simi valley-all california) in my time. they are not to be taken lightly.
we've contributed some $$ to the relief effort in haiti.

Kelly said...

...it really is eye opening. Last night while brushing my teeth I said a prayer for those in Haiti, realizing such a simple act that we take for granted is not happening there for the thousands now homeless and hurting. Thanks for the post.

John Freeman said...

I don't believe these people in the dominican are poor, they are not poor , but rich in spirit and character. I love the Dominican people...

Neil Tasker said...

Nicely put Susan.

Oz Girl said...

I have counted myself blessed for many years now, realizing that 2/3 of the world's population lives in abject poverty. I am not rich by American standards, no, not at all... but I am filthy rich by the world's standards, and I am ever thankful for my home, my heat, my coolness in the hot summer months, our food and water, and as you say, all our other gadgets that make life so comfortable. And I am thankful for my soft and warm bed the very most.

You have a wonderful blog here. :)