Fri | Dec 1, 2023

The day Jamaica shook

Published:Sunday | November 5, 2023 | 12:09 AM
Earthquake aftermath on Church Street Downtown Kingston
Earthquake aftermath on Church Street Downtown Kingston
A massive landslide blocked the entrance to the community of Melbrook Heights.
A massive landslide blocked the entrance to the community of Melbrook Heights.

Monday, October 30 would be etched in the minds of people who were rattled by the tremors of the 5.6 magnitude earthquake, some decided to pen their thoughts through poetry ...

Earthquake – 5 point 6

I have experienced many earthquakes in Jamaica, but this one shook me.

Thank God it never took me.

I was in training when I heard the commotion, a molecular explosion.

Items were falling from different places.

Things were moving from several spaces.

Wait, the walls were swaying and I was not playing.

The house literally shifted and the floor was moving beneath my feet.

I was ready to retreat.

In my mind I realized that it was an earthquake!

I remained calm and thought about a psalm.

I quickly moved from my desk and chair and went to the nearest door jam.

It was time to end the programme.

On my way to the door jam I looked through a window.

I saw my car moving to and fro.

It rocked from left to right.

There was no one in sight.

When I moved to the door jam I said: Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!

By the third “Lord have mercy”, the earthquake stopped.

I was dizzy, I was shaken, if I’m not mistaken, even a little disoriented.

Was it over? Has the quake completed its shake?

Was it for real or was I dreaming?

That was the longest earthquake I can remember.

Ping, ping, ping, messages were hitting my phone at high speeds.

I tried contacting my family members but the straight calls were not going through.

WhatsApp saved the day!

There were power outages and telecommunication disruptions.

On the news feed, people waited and people feinted.

Anxiety, asthma and panic attacks were common.

People were emotional, some even delusional.

Physical and mental health concerns were exposed.

Videos of breakages of supermarket supplies flooded my phone.

Pictures of broken homes and cracked up buildings surfaced.

Thank God there were no casualties reported.

Jamaica trembled with fear at a rate of 5.6.

It was a serious shaking, literally telling everyone to get their house in order.

On social media, earthquake 5 point 6 was trending.

Everywhere I went the topic was earthquake 5 point 6.

Drop, cover, hold-DCH-this earthquake preparedness video went viral.

Schools and workplaces were dismissed early.

And the traffic jammed with the stop light out of power.

Police patrolled the roads to bring about some law and order.

What a tremor! What a terror in little Ja with earthquake 5 point 6.

– Erika Heslop Martin

Quake and Wake

When you think is peace and safety

A sudden destruction

Koo how 5-second tremor mash up years of construction

Beach turn sea, skyscraper dance reggae jig

And mighty, ancient Mahoe broke like twig

Family squeeze unda centre table a pray and sing hymn

Far when trouble tek man, pickney boot fit him

People enna car a complain bout rough ride

But when ride sink, yeye grow big and mouth pothole wide

Supermarket stock kin-poopa-lick an tun washday stream

And people grab dem phone fi record dem scream

But praises be, although some a dem still a shake

Dem survive di quake and another day wake

– Ezra S. Engling