I am currently living in Taipei the capital city of Taiwan. This city is located in the northern part of this beautiful Island also called Formosa. I have been living here for more than one and a half year now. My first earthquake experience was on Monday morning, the 21st of April 2015. It was while I was taking one of my weekly Chinese lessons, when all of sudden it seemed as if the classroom floor had dropped away from where it had been a second ago and everything around us started shaking and swaying as if it was intoxicated. I felt like my chair was a boat floating in water. The tables and the doors, as well as whiteboard and projector were all shaking and made rattling noise. All my classmates were ladies and thus they were all very scared and attempted to stand up in preparation to run away. I was also considering to follow suit.

But our Chinese teacher seemed less scared, composed, calm, and unmoved by this sudden and abnormal situation. I drew my own conclusion that it’s maybe because he has been living in this Island for over two decades now, thus he knew better than us how to react towards such natural disasters that are not a rare incident in Taiwan. Even though the ladies tried to stand up and run away, but it was impossible to stand still because the solid, firm classroom ground has become a precarious suspension bridge in which one second you be standing there and the next you would be falling onto an uneven ground below. Before, I thought I understood what fear was but it was not until experiencing this moment that I begun to comprehend what true fear is. After noticing our uneasiness and attempts of standing up in readiness to flee the scene, our teacher warned us not to leave our place and told us to calm down while assuring us that everything will be alright soon. Not long, maybe say 2 to 3 minutes the shaking and swaying of our classroom building stopped. There were no visible damages and hence we resumed our Chinese lesson again. However, messages flocked our cellphones from friends and colleagues reporting how they experienced and survived the quake. According to the MailOnline website, this was the most powerful earthquake to ever hit the capital city, as it was measuring 6.3 in magnitude (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/newTaiwanese-earthquake.html).

The aforementioned website further reported that some buildings were damaged and caused other cars in the city center to overturn. One man was also reported dead in New Taipei City and another one was hospitalized after being burned by fire that was caused by the earthquake. In the evening of that day, the Taiwan TV news broadcasted that police evacuated some residents and office workers from a building in the city center because of a feared gas leak. Two aftershock earthquakes also occurred on the night of that day, measuring 5.8 and 5.7 respectively and they also caused the shaking of buildings in the city. But I did not feel these aftershocks, since I was fast asleep in my dorm. Even though I once experienced an earthquake is my home country called Swaziland, but it did not last more than 10 seconds and was not as strong as the one that I have just described above. Moreover, it is worth noting that after this earthquake, I have experienced a series of earthquakes in Taiwan with varying intensities. The recent and most devastating earthquake was the one that hit Tainan and surrounding areas killing a lot of people and demolished several buildings.