Monday, 18 June 2012

The Earthquake near Ölüdeniz

So I finally experienced my first earthquake, I had already accepted that it was likely that I would eventually experience one as it seems and unlikely that I would be able to spend this much time in Turkey without it happening at some point. We were having a pleasant sunny afternoon stroll in Kaş when the earthquake struck. Walking down a fairly steep hill in the old part of town my wife suddenly lost her footing in a weird way, I asked if she wanted me to take the pushchair but the atmosphere was odd and she just stared down the hill suddenly turning to me saying “earthquake”.
Simultaneously the Earth emitted a low groan and absolutely everything began to shudder causing me to stumble slightly. The main quake was over in a matter of seconds but the area seemed to continue to vibrate in an almost imperceptible way, for some time after you clearly see light fittings vibrating. Obviously this caused a degree of panic and within a minute everyone was in the street. The people who had been inside were visibly more disturbed as it is more frightening to be inside, everyone moved into open spaces.

Personally I had no idea how to react and just stood there like a dumb ox, I guess this was partly the shock. It left me feeling quite emotional for the next few hours, apparently this is a normal reaction to having the solidity of your reality challenged. The people around us swapped stories of how it was in their house or shop, chain smoked, phoned to check on loved ones and waited nervously to see if anything else was going to happen and to find out if there had been a major earthquake further away. After twenty minutes or so people began to carry on with their day to day business. The earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale we were approximately 60/70 km from the epicentre. I heard later that there were 50 odd serious injuries mostly in Fethiye due to people jumping from balconies in a panic I'm told this is a common reaction and is more of a reflex reaction that and indication of your intelligence. Luckily the epicentre of the earthquake was just of the coast beneath the ocean floor had it been in a population centre it would have been a lot more serious.

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