Dr Russell - Japan Earthquake - 11th March 2011
Arrived back in the UK on Tuesday evening from the New Zealand earthquake. Drove to Dunsfold on Tuesday morning for our two Clinical Governance days. Quite a lot of flying on Wednesday. Drove home that night and still feeling jet-lagged. Early night.
This morning I was up early to do some final preparations for my GP appraisal. I'd been meaning to sort things out and tidy up the associated folders over the last two weeks but was away, so a bit of a scrabble to make it all presentable.
My phone bleeped at me: text or Tweet? It was a Tweet from a news alert site - linking the BCC - and it just said, "Japan's main island of Honshu is hit by a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake. Tsunami warning issued." Time of Tweet 06:44hrs. This was followed a few minutes later by another Tweet, "BBC. 8.8 mag Japan quake generated tsunami: 'surge of water carried cars and ships as it surged through a coastal town'."
Sat back for a minute or two in disbelief. 8.8?? That is huge. Seemed unreal given such recent events in New Zealand. Sent a text to team leader, Dr Iain McNeil, at 07:04hrs offering my availability if needed. My bags have only just been emptied of clothes (kindly now clean and dry again thanks to Ann), so would take all of 10 minutes to pack.
Iain replied saying he'd let me know if he heard more. He sent a text later as I was about to start my appraisal saying deployment was currently unlikely. I reminded him that he said the same three weeks ago before we went to New Zealand.
Appraisal complete by lunchtime and although no hard news, it looked like things were moving closer towards a possible deployment. Spent the afternoon at home - son's 12th birthday - and quickly re-packed bags just in case.
At 15:51hrs, had a further text from Iain warning that a deployment is possible and asking the team to be packed, cars fuelled, and ready to head for an undetermined airport at immediate notice. With kit ready to go we went out for birthday dinner, with my family ready to get a taxi home if I had the call.