August 3, 2020

Freshman Claudia Mortimer Shares Experience in Haiti During Earthquake

posted on: Thursday January 28, 2010

Devin Murphy ’10 / News Editor

At 4:52 p.m. on Jan. 12, Claudia Mortimer ’13 was having ice cream at a hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She was standing on a balcony and could see her house just a few blocks away across a ravine. At 4:53 p.m. the ground beneath her started to shake. Everyone around her stood still, unsure of what was happening. It continued to shake more and more violently, picking her up and throwing her to the ground.As the shaking continued Mortimer began to hear the loud roar of buildings and other structures falling and crashing together.”It was like a movie,” said Mortimer. “I felt like an actress.”As the 7.0 magnitude earthquake continued, Mortimer and her friend scaled a low wall to get away from the collapsing balcony on which they were standing. After the shaking stopped, Mortimer was in shock. She immediately thought of her nine-year old brother who had been home with his nanny. She was able to see that her house had survived the initial earthquake. She wanted to get home to make sure that he was safe, but her friend persuaded her that it was too dangerous.”I wanted to walk home, but my friend was like ‘No, No!,'” said Mortimer.Among the damage her car had been totaled.”I still have the keys…but no car,” she said.

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