Our German Plain Truth Correspondent toured northwest Turkey on the second day after the giant killer quake struck there. One week later the Dean of the Faculty of our Texas campus and Head of the Spanish Department toured the devastated region around Caracas, Venezuela. They bring you reports from eyewitnesses of the utter devastation at the epicenters of the quakes.
Adapazari, Turkey THE Turks living along both sides of the great Anatolian earthquake fault were completely at ease. Some were peacefully resting, after a hot Mediterranean day, in the evening breezes sipping tea. Others were doing the weekend marketing. No one suspected the calm would suddenly be broken. A roaring rumble broke the peace. The earth beneath shook with a fierce and deadly anger. The first giant temblor, which registered more than 7 on the Richter scale, occurred about 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22. It was centered at Adapazari, a town of about 85,000 in population. For many death came quickly. Tons of collapsing concrete and steel flattened them like scrap metal in a hydraulic baler. What had been four or five-story modern apartments of thick concrete construction lay piled only ten feet high like a huge layer cake. See the photo above at left. Others lived agonizing hours, hopelessly trapped in the confused mass of plaster and timbers that had been their homes. For most of these, slow death finally ended their suffering. For three nights hundreds of thousands of families huddled in the open, afraid to return to their homes for fear another temblor would trap them in collapsing buildings. Nearly 80,000 people camped in the fields of Adapazari alone. Their fears became reality! Tremors continued to shake Anatolia intermittently. A second large shock wave struck at 1:45 a.m. Sunday followed by a smaller tremor at 4:30 a.m. Scientists fear that an even bigger quake will strike soon!
When the Earth Shook!
What is it like to experience a deadly earthquake? Read now two eyewitness reports from men on the scene as the big shock wave struck. Turkish reporter Zekai Erdal told the press this amazing story: I had left my office near the center of Adapazari and was drinking tea in a friend's garden when a rumble suddenly began. Treetops seemed to be touching the ground. The ground shook violently and I jumped up. I felt dazed from the undulating shock wave. Although I fell twice, I raced from the area of the railroad station to Ataturk Boulevard. The first thing I saw was a cloud of dust rising from an apartment building. A little farther down the street, a five-story building crumbled to the ground in less than one minute. Screams and cries for help rose from the debris. Ataturk Boulevard was jammed with people, dumbfounded by the 90-second earthquake. They were raising their hands in prayer, all of them — women, children, old people. I went to a coffee shop and a movie house upon hearing that 50 persons had been buried under the wreckage there. I climbed on fallen walls and wreckage. I heard someone crying "Help me," from somewhere inside. I felt ashamed that I could not help these victims. At another place I saw two young unmarried women, weeping in front of a fallen wall. It was their one-story home. Their father had been buried under the debris. I don't remember how I went to the government hospital but the garden there was a jumble of people looking for relatives. Doctors and surgeons were working feverishly to save lives. I hired a taxi and toured the town. Thirteen huge minarets had tumbled. The walls of big commercial buildings were cracked. I saw people close to hysteria, watching while ambulances raced by with wailing sirens. I returned to the wreckage of the first building I saw fall. It had been leveled to the ground. Cries kept coming out of the wreckage but there was no means to help the victims. Suddenly I remembered my wife and children, whom I had not seen since morning. I ran as fast as I could to my house. They were all right. I told them, "Don't wait up for me," and left again to go to Istanbul. Another eyewitness, sheepherder Faik Erguler, revealed: All of a sudden there was a tremendous sound. All was dust. The minaret steeple of a mosque nearby fell with a roar. I could barely stand. Most of the people on the street had fallen. Other witnesses reported that the evening crowd milled about in near panic after the first quake passed, with thousands raising their hands in prayer.
Present reports place the dead at 100 and the badly injured at over 200. These figures are expected to rise considerably as the digging out by military and civilian rescue teams progresses. Experts say many thousands would have been killed if the quake had struck in the middle of the night with everyone indoors. Over 3,500 buildings were ravaged by the ferocious quake. In Adapazari at the center of the earthquake zone, more than half the buildings were destroyed or damaged. The rail line between Istanbul and Ankara was snapped apart. For three or four days many communities were without electricity or water. In Adapazari the power station was badly damaged. The five provinces rocked by the earthquake comprise an area reaching from Istanbul, where 15 buildings fell, to Ankara the capital, from Izmir (formerly Smyrna) to Sinop. Over 400 communities in all are still continuing to dig their dead out of ruined buildings in northwest Turkey. In 1943 Adapazari had been the scene of another violent earthquake in which 258 were killed. When the next one will strike it may be much worse.
Caracas, Venezuela I "NEVER DREAMED something like I this would happen!" reported the wife of an American executive living in Caracas. She and her husband, Caribbean District Manager for Otis Elevator, had to abandon their apartment even though the quake did not demolish the building. They moved to the slightly shaken Tamanaco — a luxury hotel. Thirty thousand less fortunate victims ("damnificados" in Spanish) moved to parks, streets, lawns — to any open space, away from tall buildings.
The devastating Caracas quake left unexpected results in its wake. Neither Mr. Christopherson (PLAIN TRUTH photographer) nor I expected or realized the tremendous, far-reaching consequences of earthquakes until we saw Caracas. Although I personally saw the aftermath of the Alaska quake (1964) — probably more dramatic in outward appearance — I never felt the impact of human destruction as here in Caracas. The terrible three-tremor quake struck first and hardest at 8:05 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 1967. The official seismograph, registering 6.5 on the scale, was knocked off before the quake terminated. Estimates place the final strength of the quake at 7.3 or more on the Richter Scale (highest is 10). Besides heavy damage in Guaira and Macuto on the coast (the famous Macuto Sheraton Hotel will have to be demolished), the most reported damage in Caracas was the destruction of four of its most famous buildings: "Palace Corvin," "Mijagual," "El Neveri" and the "San Jose." More than 2,000 injuries were recorded and the official body count is close to 300 dead. As the previously mentioned executive's wife told us, however, "WE'LL NEVER KNOW THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DEAD." Officials do not always investigate slum areas. Bodies buried in slum areas cannot in every case be dug out for lack of time, money, burial places. We ourselves heard several accounts of unreported dead. Then how many really died? Dios sabe, "God knows," say the Caraqueflos. The consequences are enormous, over-whelming, BRAINSTAGGERING! Imagine standing between two 12 and 14-story buildings, staring at a 25 foot pancake-layered rubble heap of concrete and steel — the only remains of a former 14-story building... collapsed in seconds like a punctured accordion! Your mind struggles to lift the roof, lying at your feet, up to its former height. Your imagination strains to picture so many tons plummeting to earth in seconds, your eyes crawl with images of tortured, twisted, and torn human bodies writhing, squashing and tumbling in the debris, your ears split with screams of the trapped and dying, your nostrils burn with a repulsive stench... IT IS HORRIBLE! But the actual temblor is only the beginning. Tense and horrified onlookers strain to see among the mangled a recognizable face, or what is left of a face — hoping, crying, praying it will not be one they know... but sometimes finding it is someone they know. Later, charred, crushed, and partially decomposed bodies must be removed from the wreckage. Again, it is horrible. You might have imagined some of that gruesome picture. What you may not have imagined is the rest of the story — a far-reaching story that doesn't want to quit. Leaving the dead behind (they are beyond help), you cannot fail to be impressed by the staggering effects of disaster on the living. One Caracas eyewitness saw telephone and power poles sway toward one another so that the looping wires nearly touched the street. High-tension wires snapped, electricity sputtered, controls jammed, telephones buzzed, power failed, darkness prevailed, dishes broke, windows shattered, furniture splintered. But that's only the beginning. Also, buildings shook, walls cracked, ceilings collapsed, fires burned, streets heaved, water-mains gushed, traffic jammed, cars crashed, noises rumbled, children disappeared, people panicked, screams echoed, some survivors even went insane — never to recover.
And have you imagined what happens after a violent earthquake? Can you picture the racing ambulances scurrying they hardly know where, to help people who still breathe, who have been pulled alive from the wreckage? Can you imagine policemen trying to keep onlookers, survivors, firemen and rescuers from tripping over one another? Can you imagine the agonized experience of trying to find whether your loved ones survived, or if not, where their bodies are? Can you imagine the impatient, agonized hours waiting for telephone connection? Can you "live" the shock of barely escaping with your life?... the empty hollowness of losing all you owned?... of casting about for a place to sleep, a new place to stay? Can you feel the dampness of the ground as you keep an unwilling and frightened all-night vigil — waiting for the next killer jolt? Can you picture the changes of residence, the moving vans, the careful collecting of furniture from shaken and condemned buildings, the grimy, soggy wet job of searching through piles of useless belongings? Can you sense the growing doubt and clinging terror of nights reliving the tremors? Can your mind grasp the staggering financial cost of human carnage, of physical destruction, of building inspection teams trying to determine which building must come down, which may be left, the insurance claims, the lootings, the mud slides, the cracked and ruined farms, the damage suits, the hospital bills, the untold suffering? It is nightmarish! Untold thousands of people literally either slept in the city square or stood in the open by service stations and street corners to avoid being caught should another jolt come. The job of placing these "uprooted people," desarriagados, will take city officials and charity groups more than a week. Eight hundred and twenty people were crammed into the "Clark Johnson" Y.M.C.A. at Catia! As the Daily Journal of Caracas reported, "Some people packed hurriedly and left the city's towering buildings for surrounding areas. But none slept." No one in Caracas is foolish enough to believe this is the last quake. "Caracas is built over no less than three fault lines vulnerable to quakes. Caracas has been struck by four large-scale earthquakes since its 1567 founding. The worst ever was in 1812, the last in 1900. But there have been lighter shocks — those of June and July 1960 being the most recent. A geologist has explained it this way: 'Caracas is situated in a mountain valley with a towering rock mass — the Avila — on its northern side. This topographic setup usually means instability of the land... the fault line is usually in the valley. Since Caracas is in the valley it gets the full impact of any shocks along the fault line.' " The Daily Journal, Sunday, July 30, 1967. But don't think it is only Adapazari and Caracas that live under the threat of devastation by earthquake!
Down through the centuries God has warned man of his sinful and disobedient ways. God has sent His prophets from righteous Abel to our time to warn man of the result of his disobedience. But mankind has rejected those many warnings. Now at the end of nearly 6,000 years of man's rule over himself, God is sending one last warning before He executes judgment on our present sick and dying age! That last message is being proclaimed through the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH and over the radio on The WORLD TOMORROW program! That last warning is booming around the world just as Jesus Christ said it would in Matthew 24:14. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Mankind isn't listening very closely right now. But when God is through giving man a verbal warning of impending disaster because of disobedience, He will speak plainly in a forceful language mankind will have to acknowledge. There can be no more terrifying experience than a "killer quake" striking suddenly — without warning — in the cool early evening when men are resting peacefully after a hard day's work. When God speaks through gigantic earthquakes man's lofty looks and arrogant nature will be brought down low! (See Isaiah 2:17-21) Increasing destruction by earthquakes is a sign of the end of this age. When Jesus was asked in Matthew 24 what the sign of His coming would be, He answered that among many other devastating and horrible signs, EARTHQUAKES would begin striking without warning in unusual and different places — not necessarily in normal so-called earthquake zones (Matthew 24:3, 7). Christ further told His disciples, "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [Jesus' return and the end of the age] is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation [which shall see these signs] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:32-34). The generation Christ described is our generation today! You need to know what is soon to befall this present generation. If you have not yet read the booklets, Truth about EARTHQUAKES and 1975 In Prophecy, you need to read them without delay. Find out what is behind earthquakes. And discover for yourself what is soon to happen in your area of the world. It is later than you think! These ARE the signs of the times! The time is NOW!