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17 August 1999

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Just thought I'd bring it to notice that today is the anniversary of the earthquake in Kocaeli, Izmit. 1000 people died.

My husband is from the Kocaeli area.

I don't think there's a way to embed videos here, but if you have a minute - take a look at this clip

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We remember this.

We were near Tekirdag at the time.

Luckily we had taken a ferry over the Dardanelles the day before, because after the earthquake, lots of mines had floated to the surface, and the waterway was closed.

We drove back to Istanbul, and we shocked to see half a street leaning or demolished and the other half still standing. Or even some houses fallen and some standing. And roads with giant cracks in them.

We were living on the 5th floor of a 14 storey apartment block, but apparently it had been designed and built to Japanese specifications, so was 'safe'.

However, the after shocks were up to 6.4 I think,so we still rushed downstairs at various times of the day and night with everyone else. We had an 'earthquake bag' by the door with valuables and important documents etc to grab on our way out. We even stayed a few nights on the waist ground opposite the apartments with loads of other people as well.

There were people sleeping on roundabouts and in the middle of dual carriageways too.

It was very stressful afterwards. The images of the injured and damage were awful, and the death toll just rose and rose.

Masha'Allah nobody we knew was hurt, but we heard many stories of people who were.

Sue

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Sue, I can't imagine what you must have felt like see all that damage and doubt that you will ever forget it. I would imagine it was very scary feeling the after shocks and even knowing that your building was safe still got out of it.

When we drive to Istanbul we drive past Izmit and I often wonder how it must have been for people when it happened. Yes I saw it all on the tv which was enough really, but still read from time to time even now how people are still getting over it.

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Abi,I think we had a bit of PTSD, everyone would keep checking the light fittings or chandeliers to see if they were moving!!

I was teaching at school when one after-shock hit, and the large windows seemed to bend and wobble - I thought it was my eyesight at first - then I heard all the kids screaming, and we all evacuated to the playground which was surrounded by buildings, so we all went home. Then all the mobile phones would ring as people checked if everyone was ok.

I was also on the loo when one after-shock hit which was weird!!!

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Up to now I've only experienced small tremors and they were scary enough so what a big one would be like I hate to think.

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Guest Agamemnon

Shortly after we took a tour to the Black Sea and took an unintended detour through some of the worst affected areas. It was not a pretty sight, it looked more like the place had been attacked, just like Baghdad in the Gulf war, total devastation in some streets, with buildings on the opposite side of the street completely untouched. Really weird and spooky, people living in tents nearby and trying to pick up the broken pieces. I know a lot of people who lost family members. Some people are still recovering from their losses 11 years later!

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