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Ripples of Nepal quake felt thousands of miles away

Nepal may be thousands of miles away, but the effects of Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake can be felt here in Southern Nevada.

The Red Cross of Southern Nevada has deployed several emergency responders to the country. Additionally, several members of the Henderson branch of RescueNet are part of a team of 15 with one-way tickets to Nepal to help with recovery efforts.

Students at UNLV held a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to those affected by the quake.

And I’m sure various groups and organizations are gathering much-needed supplies to send to the ravaged country.

There also are probably many California transplants who quiver at the mere mention of an earthquake after going through at least one big one themselves. I count myself among that group.

Although the quakes I experienced were nowhere near as devastating as the one that killed more than 5,200 people and injured another 10,000, they were equally traumatic. Having the ground shake beneath your feet is unsettling to say the least.

And one of the worst parts about an earthquake is the aftershocks. Just when you start to steady your nerves and begin to clean up and try to restore some sense of normalcy, there’s an aftershock. Then another and another. Some are nearly as strong as the original temblor.

One of the aftershocks in Nepal on Sunday measured 6.7. That’s as strong as the Northridge quake in 1994.

I remember that one well.

Even though I lived about 115 miles away, it was still a pretty strong jolt. Strong enough to wake me from a deep sleep and slosh the water out of the pool.

I was worried about my family, who all still lived in the area. My grandmother, who was in her late 80s at the time, lived closest to the epicenter and had to be evacuated.

Evacuation after an earthquake was nothing new to our family. When the 6.6 San Fernando quake hit on Feb. 9, 1971, my parents, sister and I were evacuated for a week to my grandmother’s tiny one-room apartment.

That was the earthquake that affected me the most.

I still clearly remember what the rumbling of the ground sounded like, the pull-down desk falling on my bed and the hundreds of pieces of broken glass, china and crystal that covered the kitchen floor.

Each year on the anniversary my friends, and countless others who lived through it, recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when the quake struck.

The aftereffects of any earthquake linger long after the ground has stopped shaking. For example, my curio cabinet housing precious collectibles is screwed to the wall, and I steadfastly refuse to hang pictures on the wall above the headboard of my bed.

Usually, anything less than a 4.0 temblor is nothing to worry about. The smaller quakes, those ranging from 3.0-3.5 were just strong enough to call attention to themselves. But mostly, they were nothing more than a test of my skills to measure their magnitude by feel. By the time I moved away from California, I was a pretty good judge of their strength.

Although I know there are fault lines here, and earthquakes are a possibility, the few I have experienced so far barely made me blink twice. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy living in Southern Nevada.

I had a hard time trying to keep from snickering when we wrote a news story about a 2.8 magnitude quake in Boulder City on Dec. 30, 2013.

Still, just the thought of a big earthquake is enough to make me jittery.

For now, though, I will take those thoughts and channel them into something more productive that can help the victims of this natural disaster.

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