An Earthquake in Quito

First there was one measured at 5.1. on the Richter scale. Immediately after this came another on 4.1.

It came in the afternoon yesterday just  when we were bathing the baby. First, we registered that the water moved. So we felt that the floor was moving. We live on the 3rd floor in a 14 storey building and everything trembled. It was not comparable to something we know, and clearly it was not comfortable.

We took the stairs down and got out of the building. There was not too much people there. Significantly enough, it was those with small children who did not take the risk to remain. Thus, apart from an elderly gentleman who had brought his little pet, a small four-legged family member with a loop around the neck. It was no organized evacuation involved.

But next door where the CNT, the national telephone company, is located, there was a lot of people outside. The working people used this legitimate opportunity to leave the workplace, of course.

Then it was over. People joked a bit and went back to their apartments.

So this was just an exciting break in everyday life? As a little lightning and thunder elsewhere?

No. It’s certainly not that easy. The News reported two deaths from the quake. A 4 year old child died when a bag of rice fell over him. A worker on a bridge project on one of the main roads out of Quito died when he was buried by a landslide triggered by the same. 4 people are still missing. In a parish in the north of Quito 68 people are evacuated from their homes. A large cloud of dust accumulated on the sky gave it all an apocalyptic mood. Several aftershocks have been recorded.

So how is it to live in an earthquake prone city? People probably do not think too much about it daily. Statistically there are much greater dangers in the traffic. I am thinking on the planned subway, but I assume that the engineers and the politicians know what they are doing ….

(Photo Vía Twitter, @Mauricio10zu)