A tsunami warning | Sunday Observer

A tsunami warning

11 June, 2023

It had been a restless night. In an effort to fall asleep, I tossed back and forth. It was of no use! I switched on the television to see what was on.

I chose a movie that I would enjoy watching, grabbed some popcorn, and found a comfortable spot.

Breaking news

A breaking news report began just as the funniest scene in the movie was about to play. ”The Western Coast of the island is at a high risk of experiencing a tsunami,” it warned.

“Beware, islanders of the Western Coast!” More than ever before, I was horrified.

The only thing that was repeating in my head was “Our lives are in danger.”

Also at the time my parents were away on a business trip. There were only my brother, my older sister, and me. Ann was sound asleep when I rushed upstairs and roused her.

She didn’t believe me when I told her about the news because she thought it was a joke, but when I switched on the TV, she almost passed out.

When Peter heard the news after Ann had woke him up, the same thing happened.

I told them, “Everyone in the town is now asleep. Nobody seems to be aware of this breaking news.”

A tsunami alert

“We should alert them ahead of the tsunami,” Ann said.

Everyone agreed. The three of us hopped on our bikes and set out to send the message to every single house in the town.

To wake them up, we rang their doorbells, and then told them the news. Nobody took it seriously because they thought it was a joke, but when we turned on their TVs, they were petrified to see it.

Fleeing people

Some people started gathering their things into a few bags and drove out of the town.

Some people left their homes and fled as quickly as they could while carrying their children with them.

Except for us and a few neighbours on our block, almost everyone left.

The Earth trembles

We felt a minor trembling of the earth and immediately ran from the beach out of fear.

As it was the least we could do to ensure our safety, when we were far away, we came across some tall buildings, so we climbed them and took shelter there.

We could see the sea from where we were.

After some time, we saw a huge water wave and heard a loud bang. We were so frightened that we ran from every window that faced the water.

The noise got louder after that. We then moved towards one another in full terror.

The building’s front half suddenly collapsed and fell to the ground in a split second.

All of us screamed. Smaller waves followed that gigantic wave, and the sea eventually went silent after a while.

But we didn’t come down. It was morning soon. Since the tsunami damaged the stairs, we got down from the building using a ladder.

Our parents had arrived when we got down from the building. They came up and gave us hugs saying how grateful they were that the tsunami spared us. Many people cheered us.

They said that the town’s people were only rescued because we had warned them.

Fortunately, no one died due to the tsunami.

Worse injuries

We just got a few cuts, but several people had worse injuries.

Some patients received hospital care. Several nurses treated our wounds. Our house was partially destroyed, which was a terrible incident. But we quickly called for repair.

The following morning’s newspaper included an article about the tsunami and how everyone’s lives were saved by our warning.

By Methulini Sehasna Mallikarachchi
Illustrated by Chenudi Olaboduwa