9.30.2011

It's Been 2 years

Wednesday, September 30th 2 years ago, a strong earthquake occured at Padang, West Sumatera with a magnitude 7.6. During my lifetime, i never imagined to be a witness of this big disaster. Me and 2 of my friends, Bangkai and Uni were there when an earthquake hit city of Padang at 5:17 pm. 

Until now, i still remember that day,

It was a week after Idul Fitr, at 10:00 am we just arrived from Jakarta after took our holiday during Ied and went back to Mentawai Island (at that time we worked for a research station in Mentawai Island) and usually to reach that island we have to go by a ship from a harbour in Padang and depart at night. So, we spent our time in our office at Jl. Dobi, where is not too far from harbour and also still in downtown area. Actually we planned to go to Padang Traditional Market to bought some foods and logistics to bring into island but somehow we cancelled it and prefer to stayed at office (Now, i really thankful we cancelled that plan because when earthquake hit Padang area, that market was on big fire!) We just killed time by talked, slept, called our family and research's staff, since on that time was a holiday period,  all staffs were off to work,except us the field research assistants and office was empty. We were slept and woke up at 4:30 pm, Uni was did something in front of computer meanwhile me and Bangkai watched TV until.....  5:17 pm we felt lamps, fan and all things that hang on wall shaked so heavy and caused rumble sounds, at the first we thought it's kind of usual earthquake (because since we were in Mentawai Island it so common small earthquake occured maybe more than 3 times a day) but until few second, the shake becaming huge and we realized a big earthquake was occured!!! spontaneously we ran out from office with bring nothing!! 


The first thing we knew was went out as soon as you can and it was not easy job, earth below us was shaking so hard, rumbling, shifting!! and while we try to ran out i could see wall beside us was almost fell down and bore down upon us!! We made our way into the main road where we thought as a safe place. It was some kind of horror and scary experience! You could heard people started repeatedly saying "Allahuakbar!" load cries of scared coming out from surrounding and we could see fire from one of cinema not far from our office. Small earthquakes was happened again after the big one, the ground continued make waving motions and after that phone connection was lost! we made one called to office's staff in Jakarta but it couldn't work anymore after other quake occured. 


we could see buildings within our view were falling at an abrupt rate. People still running, screaming, crying and panic as well as Uni, she was shakes and we still hold on our hand each other, stood up in the middle of crowd and most people were doing anything they could to see if their's loved ones were still alive. Being in the middle of disaster like that.. we felt so powerless, dwarft, again reminded us about so closely we are to death. 




After few minutes, we encouraged ourselves to came back to office take our sandals and backpack. And honestly, that was so scary!! Even to open the door, we afraid if we open it and wall above us will fell down and strike us. We spent less than 5 minutes to bring our stuff because we know we had to be quick, we did't want another quake start while we were in the building. Entering office, we staring around and realized whole inside was destroyed, everything in the office now on the floor, we took breads and water from refrigerator then ran out from office (Actually, there was Rendang in kitchen, but since we panic and too scared to step further, we just took bread and water).

Condition in street still crowded and more chaotic at night. We saw a body was being carried out by motorbike and the man looked dead, we heard a guy still stuck in the middle of construction, we saw an old man desperately looking for his child and there were fires illuminating in the sky. With a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach we went into survival mode. We still hold our hand together and made decision to get to Mosque. I don't know was that just suggestion or not but in our faith we thought that we would be safer there. That night was kind of another horror for us,  in the middle of night, heavy rain outside, no phone connection, no electricity for whole city, siren couldn't stop ringing, people still looking for their family and relatives and we couldn't sleep at that night, just sat close and looking directly one each other's eyes and telepathically saying without talking, "everything will be fine and help will coming soon!" an earthquake was hit again on that night and some people prefer to stayed outside.

Thursday, October 1st, new hope.. we increased our pace and started through the city looked like a wasteland on the daytime. It seemed every other building we saw was rubble and the ones still standing were twisted and unsafe. We passed Ambacang Hotel, Primagama and several buildings those had major damage. But we still wondering and hoping if there was anyway someone could survived from that damage. So feeling powerless, once again we moved on. We were in awe of destruction, there were houses and buildings on top of cars, rescue team and military was trying to unbury people that were fighting for their lives. 








During those 2 days we just ate 2 piece of bread which we brought from office. We knew, Padang area now scarce of food and fuel and we just afraid if people getting desperate it would be not too long before heavy looting and robberies. In the middle of chaotic condition like thing, anything could be happen. We tried to made phone connection and sometimes it's worked! We got a lot of worried texts from family, friends, office staffs and relatives but since we had limited phone connection and batteries we just made calls to office's staff and they tried to take us out from Padang as soon as they can. 

We also tried to call a local staff here and asked his condition, we were so happy to heard that he's okay also his family although his house was shattered. We met him at second night and so thankful he brought dinners for us! Bang Veri, we really thankful for your hospitality!!! He suggested us to still stayed at mosque and get out from major part of city as soon as possible. 



Friday, October 3rd, Condition in Padang more worst than before, you can smell of dead bodies almost around Padang City, it's so sad to knew that smell came from people whose trapped and couldn't survived from this disaster. We got a text from office at 10 am and said they able to reserved flight tickets for us tonight!!! It's so relief!!! even though, it's so hard to get taxi from Padang city to Minangkabau Airport, finally we could take taxi and shared it with another passenger. Since fuel price was drastically increased affected to taxi's price. Usually we have to pay Rp 50,000 to airport, but on that time we had to pay Rp. 150,000. We arrived in airport and saw rescue teams from Switzerland, Red Cross and Merci Corps. Hopefully with their help, more people could be saved. Minangkau Airport itself had minor damage on the roof and cracks in some part of walls. 



That night, at 10:00 pm, we reached Soekarno-Hatta Airport and nothing i could do unless being thankful to Allah SWT for our safety and lives. I feel deeply sorry for the people who lost their lives and were injured during that disaster. My pray always be yours.



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2 comments:

  1. huks....aq ampe nangis bacanya...
    thanks udah sharing

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  2. Eh, maaf pi membuatmu menangis :( Tapi itu beneran pengalaman paling horor+sedih yang gw alami. Tapi gw yakin kok masyarakat Padang pasti bisa bangkit lagi :)

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