Sunday, 26 August 2012

I Went Round The Mediterranean In The Womb: 5. The Earthquake Hit Paradise Of Santorini

I don't know what extent the holiday companies alert prospective visitors to Santorini to the fact of the likelihood of an earthquake on Greece's most popular island. I'm sure they do as the seismologists took the three recent quakes seriously (one of which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale) and check on whether it is related to volcanic activity. The last eruption was in 1950.


In 1956 there was the largest earthquake of the 20th century in the Aegean Sea to strike Greece with a magnitude of 7.8. Santorini suffered greatly with 53 people killed  and collossal damage to buildings. It also triggered a local tsunami.

The Church before and after the earthquake.

My mother and father arrived in Santorini five years later. There were still signs of devastation.

Half demolished houses were everywhere.

But the island recovered. My parents said it was one of the most beautiful places they had ever been to.

No wonder it is Greece's favourite island.

Few of us have experienced earthquakes. I have only twice and they were only minor. the first time was in Tokyo. I was in a high-rise building. I felt hardly anything as the building was one of those newfangled skyscrapers, built on rollers which moved with the earth. Outside the other buildings seemed to move and the odd tile or bit fell off them. It was over in seconds.

The second was in England. I was awake in the early hours of the morning, venting my spleen and writing a letter in response to a vitriolic one I had received. The house vibrated in an extraordinary way. Unlike the vibrations of a passing vehicle it felt like a large pneumatic drill was pounding every brick.

I looked at the half-full bottle of wine beside me and checked the alcohol percentage. The next morning the news was buzzing with reports that an earthquake had occurred with a reading of 5.2 with the epicentre near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.

Even though I forgave the bottle of wine, I have not drunk so much since.

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