1999 9/21 Taiwan Earthquake

The Morning of September 21


The night before seemed very normal and there had been absolutely no discussion of increases in earthquake activity so of course we all went to bed without any concern. Around 2 AM I awoke as the earthquake struck. At first it seemed like other small quakes that most of us have experienced. But instead of fading away, the shaking grew quickly in intensity. Completely new to me was a loud roaring sound, like an approaching train, which actually was the sound of the shock wave preceding the moving earth. Then we were hit with the real quake, unlike anything I had experienced before.

I woke up the kids, which was not easy, and then promptly decided I didn't know what to do. The house was shaking very violently with each shock wave, yet we lived on the third floor (the top floor) of a building. To exit we would have to pass through a number of small hallways and stairs. I was convinced the building could fall, but it might not be a good idea to run downstairs where fortune would have the building fall squarely on us.

By the time I got my thoughts together, it was over, or at least I thought it was. We all gathered outside where many families were standing about in the dark, all power had been lost. A few hours, and many strong aftershocks later, we returned home knowing that the many people may have been hurt. The reality turned out to be much worse than we could have imagined.


Here are some photos of the earthquake's devastation.