I hadn’t seen Marjorie for a few weeks. She was, as she put it, laid up with her feet giving her the gyp.
But this morning she bustled in, dropped her drink bottle on the kitchen bench and parked herself on a seat looking out over the farms out the back.
I asked her how she had been and she said she was worried. Her eldest nephew was a nurse working in New Guinea, and in the past few days, there had been a massive earthquake, 7.6 in intensity. Where he was working was pretty much on top of the quake.
She went on to tell me she had spoken to her nephew who she said was pretty shaken up by what had happened. The quake was so intense as to lift him out of his bed and landed him on the floor. His quarters are shipping containers fitted out with a bed and not much else. The quake lasted a good 35 – 40 seconds, and he thought this could be the end for him. The most terrifying experience of his life.
Miraculously no one in his part of the camp was injured or killed, but the damage is significant with the main water tank ruptured. To make it worse, there had had since Tuesday over 50 after shocks including one shortly before he rang her.
Marjorie was visibly shaken as she recounted what he had told her and because he was part of the medical staff he was considered essential staff and so was staying to help in any way they could. The damage and loss of life has been significant made even more difficult by the isolation of the highland communities. What roads there are have been cut and where her nephew works is a fly in fly out sort of place. So there are no fleets of ambulances and rescue crews flooding the area, everything comes in by air.
By the time she has spilled everything about her nephew, I had a coffee made for her which she was grateful to sip on as her nerves began to settle.
I said, “I’m glad he contacted you, at least you know he’s ok Marjorie.”
Marjorie looked at me and said, “You never think of family as being in those places you see on the TV where there’s some natural disaster going on. But he’s the right man for that situation, all that study and experience he’s had in Emergency Care.”
“I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for him,” I said passing her a chocolate biscuit.