My firsthand earthquake account

By Elisa, 14

Earthquake! Every person gets terrified when hearing this word, and let alone experiencing it. I had learnt what an earthquake means and how it becomes effective, but I had never experienced that feeling of terrible fear that will remain long in my memory. Almost two years have passed, but again when I recall that day my body shivers, and to think that it can happen again.

It was Tuesday, four o’clock in the morning. I, together with my family, like all others, were sleeping. I was together with my sister in my room. Suddenly the house began to shake a little. I woke up and I did not understand what was happening. The house was shaking so hard that the objects were being dislocated. I understood that it was an earthquake. I stood up in fear.

Lights were off. I call out to mom loudly. We all came together afraid and stayed in the same place where we could shelter ourselves from falling objects until the hard shaking ended and then we went outside through the darkness. It seemed the quakes were endless. Each of us was fearful, but did not give up, because we strongly supported each other. I was listening to my parents who were telling us to not panic, but was it possible to wipe off that fear and anxiety which I had never felt before!?

We stayed outside and far from the house for fear that it could collapse. We stayed outside for a long time. When the shaking lessened, we went in. My parents went first to see the condition of the house, and later it was us full of fear. There was no sleep that night. We stayed in the kitchen talking to one another, to forget that moment which we had just gone through.

When we turned on the TV we saw that many houses had collapsed, shops had been destroyed, and what was worse, many people had been blocked while trying to get out. There were people who had been injured and others had lost their lives.

I thanked God my family was well, but I was feeling painful for all the injured. In every city there was pain, tears, anxiety and fear. People were praying that everyone under those ruins be saved.

For us it was very difficult to forget that situation, but life continues and we should move forward. Each of us helped those who had been affected the most as much as we could.

Slowly life started to go its own normal course. Work and school started again. New houses started to be built. Day by day I was seeing the changes that were taking place. However, despite these changes, I believe that each person will remember with pain that disaster.

Elisa, a 14-year-old girl from Kavaja, writes about how she and her family experienced the earthquake of November 26. Through the activities she organized in school with her peers, they aimed to raise community awareness in school on natural disasters.

The work of Elisa and her classmates is supported by a World Vision-implemented project designed to raise community and awareness and engagement around security standards and reducing disaster risk in schools. The project is a great example of strong partnerships with the work being supported by UNICEF Albania, SDG Acceleration Fund, through funding provided by the Dutch Government in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Sport and the National Agency of Civil Protection.

And most important it’s involving students like Elisa, empowering them to make a difference in their communities and helping them to fully recover from natural disasters.