earthquake in Bishkek

There was an earthquake last Friday, March 18th. Oh, did you not feel it? It wasn’t so big, but enough that as I was laying in bed at that moment, I could feel my bomb-shelter-esque concrete apartment building swaying and rocking. (After Friday, I don’t think I’ve ever received so many complements on the sturdiness of my building, known as a “Stalin”.) It wasn’t enough to fully convince me that it was an earthquake. I suspected it, but didn’t believe that it had happened until I found frantic tweets about it 10 minutes later. Farrell, and several other people I talked to, was outside and didn’t feel anything.

AUCA students received this email shortly after the rumble:

Dear Students,

If you felt earthquake disturbances, you may be excused from classes.

Best regards,

Communications Office

You wouldn’t have to tell me twice, that’s the best excuse for missing class ever, as long as you actually felt the quake. (Almost as good as a bomb exploding near the school, but classes didn’t get canceled for that.)

The earthquake originated about 20 miles from Bishkek and measured 4.5 in the capital. There were no casualties and no reports of major damage (via RFE/RL). All in all, not really a big deal.

Since then, there have been a few conversations about “the big one” that could strike Kyrgyzstan, about how we hope we’re not in one of the newer, unreinforced high-rise buildings, about whether we should hide in a doorway, under a table, or run outside. I don’t think Bishkek could handle “the big one” without some serious preparation.

But for now, we’re fine. Our earthquake was a novelty. Japan’s wasn’t and they still need our help. If you haven’t already, consider donating to your preferred charity to help Japan rebuild.