Rock and Roll at 4:00 a.m.

About 3:40 in the morning our house began to shake, the bed beneath me rolling as if on the sea. The picture frames on the wall banged and slid around on their nails. The faint sound of breaking glass came.

” Jenny!” Sarah’s frightened voice sounded from the bunk bed above.

The family jumped out of their beds and came together in the living room.

“Is someone at the door?” Grace looked anxiously at the violent banging front door which sounded as if someone was lunging again and again against the door, moving even with three bolts shut fast.

It was an earthquake! We flipped on the lights. In the illuminated room the ground continued to roll and shake. We could keep our footing, but our world seemed to shift. Then the lights went out and blackout fell upon Goroka.

2018-02-26 copy

The red dot is us (Goroka) and the star was the epicenter of the earthquake

Being normal as it happens most days, the blackout came as no surprise, yet this time seemed more sinister because of what caused it. Having recently watched San Andreas didn’t help, either.

We felt two faint aftershocks as the night turned to dawn, but nothing as big as what we had felt the first time.

The next morning we checked our gas stove and water for leaks or damage, but thankfully found none. So sitting down for breakfast, we looked up news on the internet. Larger than any tremors we had felt before, we had realized this was a big quake. But we were astonished to learn that it had in fact been a 7.5 in magnitude, originating in our highlands of PNG!






From our friend Remo Ruegg (based in Hagen, closer to the origin point):

“…my fridge got moved around about a foot and a half, numerous spices went flying, shelves went wandering… and a glass bowl, loaded with tomatoes, shattered…The office was a bit messy today with filing cabinets that tipped over, but nothing broke. However, in Telefomin I hear they have a water tank that got wrecked, one fell off a roof and someone had a pipe breakage. “

This earthquake was followed by a magnitude 5.5 quake shortly after to the northwest of the first.

6.2 and 6.0 magnitude earthquakes came the 27th, the following day.


While Goroka is too far away to see any major damage, many places farther into the highlands have been affected seriously, with landslides being the greatest danger following the earthquakes.

Thirty people are reported dead and many houses are destroyed. CRMF busily monitors the radio since most cell services are not currently working in those areas. We are partnering with missions, government, and NGO’s to quickly respond to this natural disaster and coordinate medevacs.

28168475_2040222079529814_8573254187913675408_nA supplied image shows a landslide and damage to a road located near the township of Tabubil after an earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands




4 thoughts on “Rock and Roll at 4:00 a.m.

  1. Jenny, Thanks for update and vivid description of what you were feeling when earthquake rudely woke you and the family. I’m sure it was scary, but we’re so grateful no injuries or damage. Prayers for those who lost lives and property, as well as MAF & CRMF as you all attempt to aid others. Stay safe. Much love, Grandmom & Papaw Ron (Is it OK if I share your post on FB? Many are concerned and inquiring).


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