Earthquake and Tsunami SMS Hoax in Bali
Meteorology and Geophysics officials denyThe ring tone of my mobile phone woke me up in the middle of the night. It’s just an SMS, short massage service. I ignored the SMS. I was so tired after completing the project that should be submitted on the next day to the manager in my office. I gave the finishing touch, corrected some parts of it and made sure that it was as what I expected. The tiring day led me to bed earlier than usual and the ring tone disturbed me very much. When I pull my blanket to cover my body, my mobile phone rang again for the second time. I decided to turn it off. I took it from the small table on the right side of my bed, right beside my pillow. But then, the curiosity made me open those SMSs. Who sent me SMSs in the middle of the night? Were they important massages?
They were surprising massages and made me sit on my bed. I forgot I was so tired and wanted to turn my mobile phone off some minutes ago. The messages of the two SMSs were similar. One from a number that I did not know, and one from my friend, the message the same and make me sweat. The message said that I should be aware of the serious earthquake and tsunami that was predicted will happen on June 7, 2007. Was it right? Would I experience the natural disaster like a serious earthquake or a tsunami that had happened in other areas of this country? Where should I go then if it really happened? Many question appeared in my mind and I was not sleepy anymore. I replied to the SMS of my friend and the unknown number to ask the confirmation from them, where they got the information, but they did not reply.
What annoyed me very much was that I remembered two days before I read in the local newspaper that the Meteorology and Geophysics Body of the third territory in Denpasar urged the people to be aware of the high wave and earthquake in these few days. This story was issued after the earthquake in Denpasar, high wave in several areas in Indonesia, like Sumatera, East Java, etc, including Kuta and Sanur. Moreover, the news said that the serious natural disasters in some part of Indonesia, based on the record of the Meteorology and Geophysics Body, happened on the days around the full moon; few days before of after it.
Next days, the issue about the prediction of a serious earthquake and tsunami, which was received through SMS, was the topic most talked about at my work place, in the department store, when I did the shopping, in the schools, common places and some others. Some of them believed it but some did not; the message might be only a joke. But, believe it or not, those people were afraid if the issue became true. The place where they live, Buleleng regency, was located in the northern part of Bali and in the coastal area. Usually, the beach had calm wave and good for diving and snorkeling, but if it was earthquake and/or high wave, it would be dangerous for them. Their residents were only several meters or kilometers from the beach.
Fortunately, that happened only for few days until there was a statement given by Ni Nyoman Armadi, the manager on duty of Meteorology and Geophysics Body. She stated that the issue was sent by irresponsible person and disseminated through SMS. The Body had never issued the warning about earthquake and tsunami that will happen on June 7, 2007 or other dates because the natural disaster could not be predicted exactly, where and when it will happen. She urged the people to be calm but always be aware. The statement from Meteorology and Geophysics Body was able to calm the people, including me, and the issue was resolved.
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