If An Earthquake Hit Tomorrow…

As communities in Haiti and Chile recover from the damage of recent quakes, The kNOw writers share how family and loved ones become a priority in the wake of natural disasters.

Life After Disaster
Wow. To be honest, this is hard to write about because it is scary to me. It makes me speechless. Yes, I’ve thought about it before because of the news and homeless people saying “the world is going to end.” So much goes through my head. Family, friends, lovers, and my animals. The things I love and even the things I hate. How life would be if no one made it through the earthquake or how it would be if no one got hurt. Would people still mistreat others? Would people still be prejudiced of those from other races, sexual orientation, or just jealous?

I would be most afraid of losing the people I care about, my true friends, my parents, my brothers and my niece. To be honest, I would also be afraid of losing my job. But again it might not happen because I work for the California Conservation Corps, and we are one of the many organizations that would help in this situation.

My family isn’t prepared for anything like this. Maybe my parents are but I know I am not. Especially since I don’t really have a home to call my own.
-Anna, 19


If an earthquake happened tomorrow, I would be scared. I live upstairs so I’m scared of falling. I would think about what’s happening with my mom and my brother. I would think of friends and what they are doing and if they are okay. I would panic fast.

My family is not prepared for this. It’s mainly my sister and I at home when we get there but we are hardly there. So we will panic and not know what to do. Right now, I’m thinking of a lot of questions, like when is an earthquake going to happen, what am I supposed to do, is it going to be huge, is Fresno ready for this? It’s scary. What’s going to happen when it happens?
-Meme, 16


The World Splitting Apart
I don’t think my family is prepared for an earthquake. My family is the type that would leave everything behind, besides food, as long as they’re living. I don’t think my family even thinks about something bad happening.

If an earthquake happened tomorrow, I would be most afraid of the world splitting apart and seeing people drown, as well as myself. Also, I would be afraid of seeing everything destroyed. I am most definitely not prepared for an earthquake, tomorrow, or ever. I feel fear just thinking about it because no one, even someone with the most power, can stop a natural disaster, although we could be creating it.
-Maria, 15


Protecting My Loved Ones
My family is not prepared. We have no food supply. We probably should, just in case. Anything can happen so we need to be ready.

If an earthquake happened tomorrow, the scariest thing would be to think what if something happened to my family. What if I’m at school, would my family be safe? Just thinking about it makes me realize that they probably would.

My mother is really smart so she will think of something really fast to protect my younger sister. I would be safe as well, being under a desk or table at school during class. I would also call my mom to make sure she’s safe. If the earthquake happened in the morning, I would take action to protect my family. Get them to a safe place, under our table, make sure they’re okay, including myself.
-Luis, 17


Stocking Up
If an earthquake were to happen tomorrow, the thing I would be most afraid of is Fresno becoming a disaster. If it were a major earthquake, my family wouldn’t be prepared. If it were a minor earthquake, I believe my would be prepared because we have stocked up on bottled water and canned food, which can last us a year or more. Also we have camping equipment if needed, sleeping bags, tents, propane powered stoves and any utensils needed to make a meal in a box that would be ready to go in case of an emergency.

Also, my dad is capable of killing animals if needed and he knows how to cook their meat and knows which parts of the animal we can or can’t eat. So overall I believe my family is prepared for minor or moderate earthquakes, just not drastic ones.
-Gracie, 17


No Money To Save
I’m not ready, nor is my family. It’s tough to know when something will happen but yet we can’t do anything about. We can’t save food or things we need because we don’t have the money for it.

It’s really scary to think something could happen in Fresno, period. I, along with others I’m sure, are not ready and there may be others who don’t even know about the next big earthquake. I can’t even think about what could happen. Families lost or killed is scary to think about or even say to someone.
-“Omar”, 19


My Possessions
Because we live in California, earthquakes aren’t really that uncommon. We have mountains, valleys, and one side of us is hugged by the Pacific Ocean. We can’t run from them, earthquakes just…happen. They’re part of nature.

However, if an earthquake were to strike tomorrow, my family and I would not be prepared at all. We live each day as it comes, and we don’t really have the finances to be ready for an earthquake. We don’t have bottles of water or much food. Our only options would be to grow our own food and collect as much natural clean water as we could, then hope for the best.

I’d be most afraid of losing those closest to me as well as my possessions. It may sound a little selfish, but I wouldn’t want to lose my things again. I have been in an apartment fire before so I know first hand how difficult it can be to rebuild and reacquire all of the things you need. I think everyone should have access to basic survival skills, like hunting for food, collecting water, and building a basic shelter.
-Jaleesa, 20


The Future
Rumors of natural disasters and the end of the world seem silly but if you stop to think of all the past happenings, like Haiti and Chile, it seems so possible. To tell you the truth, I’m scared. I believe in the sayings, “Anything is possible” and “Everything happens for a reason.” Fresno is a small city but anything can happen.

If an earthquake struck tomorrow, the first people I would search for are my mom, my sister Kauxue, and my brother Brandon, and then the rest of my family members. I’m scared of losing the ones I love. My family, my boyfriend, my puppies, my friends, my people, my neighbors, any familiar face and just everyone. I’m scared of losing them all.

I have heard about many earthquakes here and here, across the sea and just miles away, but I never stopped to think it could be me, clinging to my sister’s hand as broken bits of building crash upon us. It seems impossible but it could happen.

My family is not ready for an earthquake. Even if we do believe that an earthquake is going to happen, we wouldn’t know how to prepare. It’s like we work so hard everyday and try so hard to prepare for a future career when it seems hopeless with rumors and movies about the end of the world.

All this talk of the end of the world and natural disasters makes me sad, mad, and hard to believe in the future.
-Angelina, 17


No Need For Materialistic Things
If an earthquake occurred tomorrow, I would be extremely devastated. My family wouldn’t be prepared at all. I’m most afraid of losing all the people I love. Without my family, friends, and boyfriend, I wouldn’t know how to survive.

I don’t care if don’t have food or my phone, because in life, materialistic things don’t matter and I wouldn’t want to eat due to the stress. The people who I’ve known all my life are the ones who matter most. I can’t imagine life without them.
-Gabby, 17


What Should I Do?
If an earthquake happened tomorrow, I would be devastated. My main concern would be to find a safe place to fit 20 people. To be honest, I don’t even know where I would turn to or evacuate to find a safe place. The only idea I have in my mind is to go some place where the shaking has stopped.

I would be afraid to lose my family, my mom especially because she is weak and sick. If I knew an earthquake was coming, I would fly my family somewhere far on the night before.
-Dasen, 18


Without My Loved Ones
Living in Fresno, I don’t really expect an earthquake or any other natural disaster to occur. But a natural disaster can happen at any given time. It’s hard to say that we’re going to be prepared for it. I’m not prepared for an earthquake or any other disaster.

Most important, if an earthquake or any other disaster happened tomorrow, I’d be afraid and lost. I wouldn’t be afraid of getting injured, but afraid of losing my loved ones and never seeing them again. For me, that would be the hardest thing. I could survive an earthquake, but without the people I love, it would be unbearable.
-Arena, 18

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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