Like many other Dutch people, history student Esmeralda de Zwart was on holidays in Kos when the earth began to shake early Friday morning. “What’s happening? Everything is shuddering, the loud noise continues and I start screaming for my mother.”


The 20 year-old history student Esmeralda, a student editor at EM, was asleep with her family in an apartment not far from Kos Town, about 16 kilometres from the epicentre of the earthquake. At about 1:30 in the morning, she woke to an awful sound. “It sounded like a bulldozer drove into our apartment. I opened my eyes but there was no bulldozer. Everything is shuddering, the loud noise continues and I start screaming for my mother.” Then the shaking stops. But before her mother even enters the room, the shaking resumes. Her father shouts that they have to get outside.

“On the way out, a hole in the ceiling of the gallery catches my eye and I have to step over the rubble that fell from it”, recounts Esmeralda. “We rush down the stairs and once we’re outside, the hotel’s reception employee tells us to walk inland and stay away from power lines and buildings.”

Risk of tsunami

Outside, the other holidaymakers have gathered in the parking lot. “I still haven’t quite grasped what just happened until I hear a woman next to me say the word ‘tsunami’. She had read on the internet that the quake was 6.7 on the Richter scale and that the epicentre was located at sea. That really got my heart pounding with fear, but before I could even think about what’s going to happen next, the earth started shaking again. Everybody held their breath.”

The epicentre of the earthquake was under the seabed between Kos and the Turkish seaside resort of Bodrum. There was a tsunami, but it was too small to cause much damage. However, two tourists were killed by the earthquake and hundreds more were injured.