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CNN journalist experiences earthquake in Turkey: “Trembling grew stronger”

It was a little after 4:15 and my parents woke up in terror, screaming as the ground shook. I screamed at them to take cover: “It will be over soon, it will be over soon”, I screamed, even though it seemed like it would never end.

I wasn’t too worried at first. It’s just another small earthquake, the kind we feel every couple of months around here, I thought.

But just a few seconds later, it became so unstable that furniture was falling over and I could hear objects crashing. The force felt like someone trying to knock me down, I could feel the violent reverberations in my chest. I fell to the ground and the shaking continued. A few minutes passed before it finally stopped.

We ran out of the house, in our pajamas and slippers. It was freezing cold and pouring rain. There was snow on the ground. The entire neighborhood was on the streets.

Twenty minutes later, when we thought it might be over, the first aftershocks hit. I counted eleven, one after the other.

I ran back inside to grab some suitable coats and boots and we jumped in a car to move to an open area away from the buildings. I heard ambulances and fire trucks making their way to the old town, full of older, more fragile structures.

The aftershocks continued to arrive throughout the day. Some were incredibly strong. One hit when I was next to a large, heavily damaged building. A civil defense officer shouted for everyone to run.

Later, I drove to Pazarcık, a town of 35,000 inhabitants closer to the epicenter. It felt like Armageddon. There is at least one completely destroyed building on every street.

I stayed in Pazarcık for 30 minutes, and in that short time I felt four aftershocks. It didn’t seem safe to stay, so I went back to Gaziantep.

That’s when the ground started to shake again, it felt biblical. Everyone ran out of their cars. The shaking was so strong that I could barely stand. The water in the ditch at the side of the road lashed back and forth violently like a storm.

In Gaziantep, we are sheltered inside a mosque where it is safer than at home. City officials have been distributing hot water, bread and rice.

I know it would be even safer to stay outside in case there are more aftershocks. But the temperature is just above zero. My parents can’t stay out in the open.

Source: CNN Brasil

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