This Weblog comes from Mindy McAdams and resides at It's a personal blog and probably not of much interest to anyone but me. You are welcome to read and comment as you like.

December 27, 2004


On Sunday morning, as everyone in the world knows, a major earthquake erupted in the ocean west of Sumatra (that's part of Indonesia, for all you geographically challenged Americans). The BBC has excellent coverage of the disaster, which so far has claimed more than 20,000 human lives.

The death toll in all of Malaysia is fewer than 100 people at this point. Sumatra (a very big island) shielded the west coast of Malaysia almost completely from the tsunami that followed the quake. The affected areas in Malaysia are quite a bit north of where I'm living, and I'm about an hour's drive inland from the west coast at any rate.

The number of e-mails I've received asking whether I'm safe has been very touching. I'm safe! I didn't even get wet. Didn't feel even a rumble.

The areas affected in Malaysia are Penang (a small island at the northwest corner of peninsular Malaysia) and Kedah and Perak, two states on the mainland. The state where I live is Selangor, farther to the south.

I didn't find out about the tsunami until the English-language news came on TV at midnight Sunday. I had heard about the earthquake in the morning, but I guess the tsunami had not struck yet. (According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the local time of the 9.0-magnitude quake was 08:58:49 a.m.) I was not very concerned because that report said the epicenter was out in the ocean. Then I disconnected from all media to do some work on my book, which is in page proofs now. So I was out of the loop until I caught the late-night news.

I have one colleague who has family living in India, and fortunately everyone is okay. It has reminded me of September 11, with everyone checking up on everyone else, asking about their families, making sure no one they know was hurt or killed. This is an enormously larger disaster, with such a huge range, so it's also much different from September 11 in that many people were vacationing on the Christmas weekend, and so there's a lot more possibility that someone you know could have been up north at one of the resorts that were hit.

Posted by macloo at December 27, 2004 10:13 PM