“On my first day there, I was the guest of Padre Vicente Saltos, the Parish Priest of one of the towns that has been torn apart. I asked him what actually happened the night of the earthquake and what was it like to be caught up in it. He took me to his own house where he related the story of that night. He had been upstairs getting ready for the 7pm Saturday Vigil Mass. Suddenly everything started shaking and he realised it was the ‘real earthquake.’ He stood up and tried to escape but he was thrown to the ground unable to move. He managed to crawl over to the door, where he remained in case the building collapsed. The house shook violently from side to side and the ground moved up and down both of which caused terrible destruction. As Padre Vicente described that night, I could only imagine so much movement, both building and ground that it would have been like trying to crawl out of the waltzers at the showground.
After 57 seconds, the earthquake stopped.
57 seconds and hundreds of lives were lost.
57 seconds and buildings were razed to the ground.
57 seconds …..
It will take, I think, a generation before communities are restored.
In 2016 a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least 480 people, injured more than 4,000 and left 231 missing. A state of emergency was declared in six provinces and the National Guard was mobilised.
Sister Clare Theresa Crockett, 33, died when a school collapsed in Playa Prieta, Ecuador.
Earthquakes have claimed millions of lives in the last 100 years, and improvements in technology have only slightly reduced the death toll.