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Earthquake in Chile

Most of you have already heard about the earthquake that hit Chili with a magnitude of 8.8 on March 2nd. As most of us were still devastated by the one that hit Haiti, we found ourselves once again, feeling that devastation for Chile.

Although this is the type of news we don’t want to hear, we need to expect it. Some countries are not as well off as others because of their location on the map. Some are more susceptible to earthquakes, others to hurricanes while others to tsunamis. And let’s face it, most of us will never take into account these risks when backpacking in a country. Should we? Shouldn’t we? It’s a difficult questions to answer.

The way I see it is that we are surrounded by danger wherever we are. Let it be a psycho that goes into a school and randomly shoots at people, or getting hit while crossing an intersection, anything can happen to us at home. And yes, there is a certain degree of danger that’s involved with traveling but as long as you are aware of that danger, there is no need to worry.

When I was in Rio by myself two months ago, I knew not to be wandering around the streets on my own at night. And although I did pass as a local, I never wore jewelry on me to attract unnecessary attention. I avoided getting in any type of mugging situations by avoiding these simple things. At the same time, I heard mugging stories from backpackers at the hostel because they found themselves drunk at 3AM and needless to say, some of them got mugged. The point of the story is to be aware of the danger. This being said, it’s not always obvious when mother nature strikes. One cannot always be ready to deal with such a disaster. But one thing you can do is avoid certain places at certain times of the year. Don’t plan a trip to Cancun when it’s hurricane season or avoid Thailand when it’s monsoon. It’s certainly easier said than done, especially if you’re backpacking for a long period of time.

I’ll let you go with a few tips:

  • If a hurricane hits, make sure to stay indoor and away from windows. Close all doors.
  • If there is a tsunami watch out, stay away from the shore. Don’t think you can outrun the wave it because you won’t!
  • If a lightning strikes, stay indoor, away from windows, doors, radiators, stoves, sink and other plugged-in appliances. You should unplug all electrical appliances asap. If you find yourself outdoor, stay away from trees, fences, power lines and swimming.
  • If an earthquake strikes, drop on the ground and find shelter under a solid piece of furniture. If you find yourself near a door, use the doorway as shelter. If you’re outdoor, stay away from buildings, street lights and wires.

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