It was the late afternoon of the 24th of April and we were having a walk, slowly making our way home after a long, satisfyingly run. All the way we ran along the sharp, high cliffs that cut down to the icy blue ocean water. It was beautiful!
As we were rounding a curve on the long and windy sea-view road, I felt a bit of a shake, like when a heavy truck roars across the bridge you are standing on. Only, this time I was on solid ground! I also saw a bunch of rocks and sand falling. Strange…
I asked around if any of the others had felt anything, but surprisingly, they did’t! As a matter of fact, mum did’t even seem to believe me. This left me wondering until…
Suddenly all hell broke loose. All the deafening emergency sirens went off in the city, and a large, black cloud of smoke was rising from somewhere within the city centre. An official was running towards us, yelling a few urgent sentences in Spanish, of which we could not understand a single word. Seeing the confused and bewildered looks on our faces, he stopped to explain some more. Eventually we could make out that there was a tsunami heading towards the coast, and we were to head for the hills in evacuation.
Busses, cars, local trams and any other sort of vehicle rushed up towards the narrow streets heading up the steep hills. Many people were rushing up along the cobble stone sidewalks, chattering excitedly of the happenings. All tv’s in the houses, hostels, and apartments were blaring with the most recent news, and many people were holding out either their cellphones or radios to get an update of the events just down below. It was mayhem!
Many questions followed, considering our belongings, our apartment, where we should be heading, and any further news or updates about the tsunami. Our apartment was in the city centre itself, and around 30m from the shore of the harbour, on the 3rd floor.
It was now getting late, and we were starting to freeze in our short running cloths at this hour of the night, and so decided to head for home. Surprisingly, after no real action, the chaos started to calm down, and we were now able to access our apartment.
As soon as we got home, we found our whole patio wet. The firemen must’ve sprayed it too! We immediately switched on the tv so we could find out what exactly we’ve been through, or not.
Soon we discovered that in the heart of the city, at 6:30pm local time there was an earthquake at a scale of 6.9! This explained the shaking I had felt earlier. We saw footage of the items in a grocery store being thrown off the shelves, the top level of a building burning in flames with fireman doing their duties, and a large rock fall and smash a parked car. Luckily, there was minor destruction, and no people were injured.
But as we were sitting at the table, having dinner, we all felt a small, yet clear tremor, and looked at each other with wide eyes. At least we are all safe, and soon after snuggled under our warm covers after a long day of celebrating
Mum’s birthday, and of course, evacuation and all the drama that had gone with it. What an adventure, and hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime experience! 😉
Until next time,
– Kali –
(The fire and smoke rising from the building in the photograph above was at the centre of the chaos during the tsunami evacuation alert. Our apartment was about two blocks from that building. We took this picture from high up in the hills!)