The strong quakes that we have experienced last week, and the hundreds of aftershocks that came in its wake, left most of us feeling the earth shake every so often or fear that we are suffering from vertigo. Some say they cannot feel anything anymore, while those who are at home glance every so often at the water dispenser to check if there is indeed a tremor. Taken to the extreme, seismophobia or the fear of earthquakes can afflict people especially those who have witnessed horrific devastation.
Writing from Switzerland, former journalist Brady Eviota shared his thoughts on the earthquake:“My family and friends who experienced the magnitude 6.7 February 2017 quake in Surigao told me of an eerie frightening sound that came during the quake, of a dull roar that seemed to be coming from the bowels of the earth itself, as if the earth had grown teeth that it was now gnashing with unbelievable force and violence.
“And so that is the multilevel experience of the earthquake – the physical rattling and the sense of helplessness, the cries of panic, the earth groaning and growling, and maybe also the smell of sulphur that can be released from below? The experience simply beats the most frightening 4D cinematic experience.”
We have seen painful images of residents holding cardboards asking for water, food, mats to sleep on, and tarps for their makeshift shelters. Assistance has been pouring in but people are still agitated and anxious of the immediate future. Rebuilding their lives will be a slow and painful process.
Yesterday, the city council approved to release financial aid to quake-hit towns from the initial P3.2 M to P4.2M. This is in addition to the financial assistance of P1M for some towns after the first quake in October 16, 2019, given by the city. Goods and other basic necessities from the private sector are on the way to these areas.
It will take months before the residents can return to life before the quake. We bank on the fact that they will be assured assistance from government until such time that they recover from this calamity.