There’s nothing like an earthquake at midnight to make you feel unprepared. While the violent shaking was what got me out of bed, the sound of items crashing to the ground and the crystal zing of shattered glass is what made me afraid.
When the shaking stopped I still clung to my bedsheet, hoping for some sort of safety. Just minutes ago I had been tucked snugly in bed. Lights up and down the hill started to pop on and people began wandering out slowly to inspect their houses. Word spread among the neighbours of a tsunami warning and we all cast wary eyes toward the ocean just below us. With each aftershock the stilts under my house moaned and creaked, but held.
Phones were held to ears as people desperately tried to reach loved ones when the sirens sounded in the distance to evacuate to higher ground. Others just waited for dawn so we could see Wellington and survey the damage.
Xero has around 500 people working in Wellington and luckily none of us were injured. But almost all of us will have a similar tale. Frightening as it is, the world doesn’t sit still, the sun comes up and it is Monday. A workday. But the earthquakes are clearly big enough to avoid Wellington’s CBD and schools are shut. Rightly so. We all need time to get our heads together and make sure our family and friends are ok.
The news has spread far and wide, texts and calls from worried friends on the other side of the world, and word from teammates. In times like these, it’s good to know so many people have our backs and are there to support us. We’ve been told to stay at home and keep safe, and friends in different offices check in to make sure we’re dealing with everything okay.
We sit in three buildings across Wellington’s CBD, well four, if you count the one under construction. The business of Xero doesn’t skip a beat – although our hearts do every time there is an aftershock – because we all work together in the cloud. But it sounds like the buildings are all standing tall and we’ll be back in the office again soon.
This is an important time to not only reflect on your family and friends, but also on how prepared you need to be for those disasters that can strike at any time. Charge your phone, stock your pantry and keep up to date with civil defence information in your region.