We‘re holding ‘earthquake-preparedness-drills’ for goodness sakes! Sounds scary, right? On every floor of this 5 story building there are secure rooms, basically a concrete walled room with a concussion door. These were originally, and maybe still are, designed to be used as bomb shelters. They stand empty and unused and up until now, locked. But earthquake awareness has brought them to life again. Now they are the center of every “what if” conversation. And the thinking is right, they could be life savers. Built of reinforced concrete they are fitted with gas filters, a water supply tank, and a makeshift toilet. There is also an escape hatch and a steel covered window to the outside for those that want to jump.
The theory is that in the event of an earthquake everyone is to run to the nearest shelter and stay there until the rocking motion stops. Of course those who are on canes and walkers will get there a little later, perhaps even after the fun is over. Many of those without canes and walkers may take even longer. The mind boggles at the thought of the residents in such a calamity.
What happens if the event occurs at a mealtime, say just after 12:30 when everyone here has only one thought on his mind? Are there unlimited cans of tuna stashed away but within reach? How about bottled water and iced tea, or more to the point in our hour of need, Johnny Walker Black Label?
The last guy to get hit by a major earthquake in this part of the word was Hisham, a wealthy man who built a palace outside Jericho. It is thought to have been destroyed and abandoned by the earthquake of 747. By the look of the ruins, Hisham never had time to eat anything.