1980 Earthquake

23rd November 1980 – it had been an unusually hot day but that gave us no warning of what was to come.   In the evening, as I was preparing for my boys’ bedtime, I was dumbfounded by what happened from one moment to the other………..

“I had said I’d get the boys’ bath ready and as I walked towards the bathroom there was a shattering bang. The shock of so loud a noise stopped me and for a moment I thought a jet had broken the sound barrier above us, but within only a second or two, the floor began to undulate beneath my feet; it felt like trying to balance on a slow roller coaster. All our windows shook and a chandelier trembled violently. The word ‘earthquake’ jumped into my mind but I didn’t want to believe it……………..

soon, it seemed the whole town had gathered on the sea-front, where we all tried to understand what was happening………………

“I had been wrong to expect scenes of panic; people were gathered in hushed groups; several were crying, some stood still in dumb shock, others were praying. Everyone had someone to be afraid for. Clearly there had been a catastrophe somewhere but with the electricity off again, there were no radios or television sets to give us news. We waited, not knowing what to do and people tried to comfort one another. Friends I didn’t know I had saw me with my children and offered us refuge in their car, or to share some food with them……………………”


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