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KELO-LAND Family Lives To Talk About Turkish Earthquake

August 21, 1999, 12:00 AM

Atilla and Ruth Sarar were on vacation in Turkey. They were sleeping in their 7th floor hotel room in downtown Istanbul when the earthquake struck Tuesday morning. The Sarars shook right along with the building for a full 45-seconds. Atilla Sarar said, "Five seconds, ten seconds, you just keep rolling, it's a funny feeling, strange feeling, you're laying on jelly, way high up in jelly."

Ruth Sarar said. "And then the after-shocks started and then we were afraid to stay in the hotel so we went down probably about three blocks to one of the larger streets."

Amazingly, the Sarars' hotel wasn't damaged. But just a few miles away, thousands of people were killed. "They were transporting injured and dead people as well, that you could see them, said Ruth.

Atilla Sarar grew up in Turkey. His relatives who still live in Turkey survived the quake.
The Sarars came home two days after the earthquake, happy to return to the peace and quiet here along Garretson's main street. "Even now, I feel it how dangerous this was, just simply, it takes one down, everything's gone."

Now the Sarars watch helplessly from their living room as TV reports show more and more victims being pulled from the rubble. All the time realizing just how lucky they are.
"It's a very mixed feeling, you can't say oh, I'm a survivor, I'm alright, It's too selfish to think about."

Ruth Sarar and her daughter were volunteers in the Spencer tornado cleanup. They see a lot of similarities in the devastation. But Ruth says you get advanced warning when a tornado strikes. There is no warning when an earthquake is about to hit.

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