Wednesday 2 September 2009

Jakarta EarthQuake

Since I am popping in and out of Jakarta, lots of adventures are drawn to there as well.

In July there was the bombings of the hotels, then police force hunting down major terrorists (news died down on that one) and today something else.... an earth quake.

I just went down to get a decent fresh coffee at one of the bakeries in the building. Luckily I brought a thermos mug over from Hong Kong. When coming back up to the 21st floor, gave a cappuccino to one of my colleagues and sat down whilst enjoying a sip of fresh coffee.

Around 15:00hrs local time, I do feel some movement in the building. For me thats nothing of concern, as that happens every now and then. Especially at high floors (I am at 21st). However, this one was different. It kept on going, and the intensity was getting higher as well.

Colleagues came out of small meeting rooms wondering what was going on. I looked at other buildings and saw the windows making strange waves as well. In the meantime the floor started moving more and more (nope no booz at that time of the day). When I looked out again and saw debris coming down... I made the call. Its enough...abandon ship!

So I packed my bag (i.e. put my laptop and mobile phone in there, the rest is there anyway) and announced that it was time to leave the place. So the whole team left for the emergency exit to take the walk down. 21 floors takes some time. Interestingly people were walking down calm and orderly. No chaos, panic or other stupid stuff was taking place here. Everyone was walking down calmly.

Whilst we were walking down, the building kept on swaying. I did keep an eye and ear open for any abnormalities. Read: is the whole building coming down or not. Fortunately no noise or sight of debris, dust or other things that would sound like trouble.

Outside, silly enough many people kept on standing close to the building. I wasn't able to spot any major damage to the building....being good news!

Outside we made our way to the front of the building. A little bit further away, to make it more difficult to be hit by dropping debris in case of more aftershocks. There didn't seem to be any fear amongst the locals. Obviously phonelines were blocked, so my only chance of keeping my wife in the loop was by sms.

When looking around, I figured that the biggest opportunity for accidents now was going to be hit by a car. Traffic, which is always horrendous in Jakarta, kept on running and people were all over the place around roads.

After around an hour, we made our way back up to the 21st floor...trying to find the guy who had the office key :). Fortunately he didn't leave as many others did. While we are setting up to continue the day.... the announcement came in that the goverment gave a 30min warning for aftershocks.

That was it for me...enough for the day. I told everyone to evacuate our office again, take computers etc and make their way out to see them next morning. After checking all rooms, we closed the office and left.

Leaving was easier said then done. Many people had the same idea. Traffic was absolutely horrendous. Credit to my driver who made it to my apartment in 1:15hrs only (normal time 20-25mins).

Take a look below on some observations, just after the evacuation and how it looked like from the 21st floor again.

Lets see what happens with any aftershocks!

More details can be found here as well