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A night of terror

Published:Monday | March 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Chilean-Jamaican couple relive massive earthquake

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Fernando Carrandi was glued to his television screen in his Santiago, Chile, apartment building at 3:30 on Saturday morning when the lights went out.

The next thing he heard, "Noise coming like a rolling thunder and the shaking began," he told
The Gleaner
via the social networking website, Facebook, yesterday.

Carrandi, one of the millions of survivors of the devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on the weekend, two years ago worked at the Sangster Interna-tional Airport in Montego Bay before returning to his homeland. Yesterday, he described a frightening night on the 11th floor of a high-rise building.

"It was getting stronger and stronger, I woke up Lauren (his Jamaican girlfriend), who now lives in Chile, and told her we need to get up and go nearby the entrance which is the safest place in the apartment," he said.

The strongest felt

"As we were going, it was all dark and the earthquake was now at its full violence. We stood hugged by the wall shaking like jello, it was the most strongest I have felt," he added, noting that though he was accustomed to earth tremors, this was nothing like he had experienced before.

"There were flashes of light all over town as the electricity cables joined with the shake and transformers exploded. The noise of the building structure and the glasses breaking was deafening."

He said a number of the residents in his building were trapped because the doors were stuck in the frames because of the violent movement.

Reliving the experience to
The Gleaner
was not easy for Carrandi, but it was even more difficulty for Lauren.

"I am still scared because I have never experienced anything like this," she wrote, adding that she was thinking of returning to Jamaica to see her family and friends and to rest after the horrible experience.

With disruption out of the way, the couple said they went out yesterday to fill their gas tank and buy groceries.

"It is relatively normal here in the capital, although you can still see the fear on people's faces. We have water, gas, electricity, TV broadcast, Internet, etc, but in the south the story is different. Most services will take a couple of days to be restored and in some areas at least a week," they said.

They said in the area most affected, Concepción, people were still afraid and looking for water, food and medicine.

The Chilean government has implemented a state of emergency and the army has been called in to control the situation.