Sunday, June 15, 2014

9/21 Earthquake Museum 地震博物馆

If you have a chance, head out to the 9/21 Memorial Earthquake Museum near Nantou County, Taiwan.
On Tuesday, September 21, 1999 at 1:47 a.m., an earthquake registering 7.3 on the Richter Scale occurred.  
It's epicenter was the little town of Jiji near Sun Moon Lake.
2,415 people were killed and 11, 305 injured.  Nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars in damage was estimated.
The site of the museum is a school that was flattened.  Classrooms collapsed.  The track was lifted off the ground.  An entire building dropped upon itself like layers of cake.
Over 100,000 people were made homeless by the quake.
Over 51,000 buildings were destroyed and over 53,000 were terribly damaged.
870 schools suffered damage.
I've talked to so many people about this one day in Taiwanese history.
School administrators who returned to their beloved classrooms to find only rubble.
Teachers who at that time were students away at school living in dormitories they had to evacuate, unable to contact their families for days.
Foreigners living and working near the epicenter who ran out into the street in the middle of the night and were not allowed back into their apartments for days.
Students who despite being young, had this earthquake become one of their first memories... family members crying, huddled outside, walking around in the streets with buildings falling over.
The whole country was in chaos.
It's such a reminder that at any given moment, your whole life could change.  Forces at work without your understanding bubbling beneath and rising to the surface.
People nowadays just call the event 921 and mark the day in solemn remembrance.  We have to remember these things, to mark the significance of society's shifting imprint and the staggering changes they have upon ourselves.  

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