At about 6:15PM local time, I got an email from our mission office that a Tsunami warning had been issued for the entire Pacific Basin, due to a massive M8.9 earthquake in Japan. As you can see from some of the previous pictures I have posted, many of the buildings, and villages in Yap are near the water.
We immediately called the younger Missionaries and learned that they were watching news of the earthquake and its resulting tsunami on TV at the Telecom office. We suggested they continue to do that for awhile, as it was not expected to hit the area for at least another hour, so they could keep us updated.
I called the Branch Presidents, and anyone we knew who lived in low-lying areas, and then hopped into the truck to check on a few people we couldn't reach by phone. I stopped a few times to warn a few people who were walking or jogging around the lagoon and probably hadn't heard of the impending danger.
As I checked on local stores, most knew about the tsunami warning, but seemed unconcerned. Actually, as I approached some of the people that I had come to warn, I was given polite smiles, and heard a few chuckles as I departed. The locals obviously had a sixth sense about this, because sure enough, as has happened twice before since we've been here... nothing...
Not complaining... definitely the better outcome. It was a non-event for this little island. On the other hand, the outer islands of Yap which range as far as 800 miles away, are much smaller, much flatter, much more susceptible to being swept over by a large Tsunami. I haven't heard any news of them, but am sure I would have if they had been hit.
So for my friends back home -- we are fine, unaffected actually. Life goes on as normal. As for the bits of news feeds we have seen of the destruction in Japan, our hearts go out to them, and to the families back home affected by the destruction. We know there is still danger with the nuclear reactors, and pray that they are able to be contained and a third disaster avoided.
1 year ago