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Saturday, 20 June 2015 13:32

Terra Infirma: Life after an earthquake

view from hotel rooftop bar
Photo: Timothy Beyer

View from the hotel rooftop bar

The devastating news of the Nepal earthquake this April was a shock to everyone around the world, destroying vast numbers of ancient temples, endangering millions and killing thousands. E&M author Timothy Beyer gives us a unique insight into the reality of the earthquake and its repercussions.

When the noise started outside the window, I idly wondered what such a big lorry could be doing in the narrow road leading to our office. When the rumbling became a shaking, my colleagues and I looked up as one; with a collective, silent "Oh sh**", we left the room and ran down the shuddering stairs and out of the building. 

This is not what you are meant to do in an earthquake. You are meant to hide under a table. If you do leave the building, you are advised to take all the obvious things, including the bright orange "go bag" filled with essentials. My colleagues and I did none of this. We just legged it, leaving behind go bags, phones and, in some cases, shoes. 

The sensation of the earth shaking violently underneath you is hard to convey: there are no easy comparisons. Like night following day, one thing you can usually depend on is that the ground will stay put; and it’s deeply unnerving when it doesn’t. For a few moments, your mind constricts in a way that most of us never experience, focusing on one goal: escape. 

Published in Sixth Sense
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