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A three minute nightmare that shook Tokyo

Saturday March 12, 2011 11:47:29 AM, Sanu George, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: For three minutes that seemed like eternity, Indian S. Ajay Kumar saw his colleagues tossed like rubber balls as a 8.9 earthquake shook his nine-storey building in Tokyo.

Kumar was himself flung against a wall and thrown on the ground, stunning him. Others were screaming and wailing. And buildings in the very heart of Tokyo swayed -- like swings.

In a telephonic interview from Tokyo, Kumar described as nightmare what he underwent Friday afternoon following the killer quake that triggered an equally powerful tsunami in Japan's north.

"I felt someone was lifting me and banging me against the wall in my office," said Kumar, who started living in Tokyo only about three months ago.

"People were wailing and shouting. I was thrown on the floor. Then only I came to know what was happening.

"For close to three minutes, I felt I was on a swing and buildings were literally swaying."

Kumar said everything occurred in a flash.

"If this had happened anywhere else where buildings are not built to face such earthquakes, I would not be speaking to you now," he said.

"It was a nightmare. When I recall what happened, my hands still shiver."

He said he later learnt that most buildings in Japan were built to withstand powerful earthquakes.

The worst impact was borne by northern Japan where the earthquake sparked a tsunami with waves going up to 10 meters and washing away houses and vehicles and leaving about one thousand people dead.

Kumar said when the swaying in Tokyo stopped, a dozen IT professionals from India fled from his office. They waited till sunset in an open ground nearby, hoping and praying.

"By then all communication facilities were down. We walked 10 km to reach our homes because traffic was thrown out of gear.

"When we reached our area, we were told to spend the night at the local earthquake rehabilitation centre."

Kumar said he had since returned home -- which too withstood the impact of the earthquake.

"We have been told that the major disaster is over but aftershocks will be felt for a few more days.

"Now we have been told that traffic is back to normal here and trains have started to run again," said Kumar.






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