Quake: a matter of time before it’s our turn

The stories coming out of Nepal since the catastrophic earthquake hit the small nation on Saturday have hit home for some Cowichan Valley folks and should really hit home for us all.

For Cowichan’s well-known filmmaker Nick Versteeg it was a chillingly near-miss, as he was in Nepal at the time of the quake, and had missed by mere days being at the Mt. Everest base camp at the time of the deadly quake-triggered avalanche.

Duncan’s Susan Marshall, who runs a charity in the country to help educate impoverished children, had just left Nepal about a week before the quake hit.

With over 5,000 now confirmed dead at the time of this writing, and the death toll climbing by the hour, the good fortune of Marshall and Versteeg is something to be celebrated, while we mourn for those who were not so lucky.

Versteeg, still stranded in Nepal and trying to make his was to the devastated capital Kathmandu, is not totally out of the woods yet as aftershocks continue to rock the nation.

Our thoughts are with him. But for those who don’t really know Marshall and Versteeg, and those who’ve never been to Nepal and have no intention of ever doing so, the natural disaster and tragedy can seem like a distant thing.

But here in B.C. news of a serious earthquake should make us all consider our own situations.

We’ve been told for years by scientists that it’s only a matter of time before it is our turn. We will be hit by the big one, it’s just a question of when.

We live and work and play on a major fault line where the consequences of the movements of two tectonic plates sliding against each other play out as the ground shaking beneath our feet. We’re also at the mercy of potential tsunamis that can be kicked up by a quake.

Our infrastructure is infinitely better and safer than that in Nepal, but Mother Nature’s power is infinitely more destructive still than our best efforts.

Are we prepared for the emergency when it inevitably happens?

We must make sure that we have a plan, both personally, and as communities, and we must make sure we know what those plans are. This is a wake up call.

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