The Earthquake of January 12 as Described by the Survivors

huge pile of rubbleWhile we think we understand the earthquake from the TV news, being in the clinic and hearing people’s stories gave us a very different angle: the perspective of actually experiencing and living through it.

Almost everyone who was not severely injured in the quake said that nothing happened to them. Here are a few stories that came out through persistent questioning:

"When I saw the earth move and crack open, and my mother next to me a few feet away and I cannot save her because although I am walking, I am not walking, I felt that this was like the description of the end of the world in the Bible. You see people falling, and you cannot help them. So then I started to recite the Our Father.”

“I was inside the house when the earth started shaking. I started running outside, my baby in my arms, and the house collapsed behind me. I saw houses falling down everywhere. We were all running and screaming. I fell down, the baby below me, and other people started falling on top of me. We are all fine.”

“I was playing in the riverbed when the earth started to shake. The bridge broke, and dirty water in a tank on the bridge came down and hit me. I was covered in dirty water. Since then, my body itches all over, and I have sores everywhere.”

“I was standing next to a wall when the earth started shaking. The wall shook so hard that I fell own, and the ground shook so hard that I banged my head against the floor many times.”

collapsed concrete building

“I don’t know what happened to me in the earthquake. When I saw all the houses collapse, I fainted.”

“I inhaled so much dust from the collapsing buildings, that I have a hard time breathing since then. I was also part of the men who searched the rubble for the surviving and the dead. Since then, my heart races non-stop.”

“Two hours after the earthquake when I heard on the radio that the tsunami is coming I just stood up and gave up and started to pray.” [He lived in a slum near the beach.]