Nermeen Mounier

As interviewed by: Malak Tousson, March 22,2015

Nermeen Mounier: In Her Own words

Hi, this is Nermeen Mounier and I was born in 1975 in Cairo,Egypt. Iím glad that youíre giving me the chance to share my experience about this major earthquake in Egypt with you. This earthquake took place in 1992, I was 17 years old, and I was in high school, and I lived in, at this time, I lived in the central, very close to the downtown in Cairo, it is a crowded city, and mostly all are, is not towers,or even uprises, I would say mostly tall buildings between 8 story to somewhere 20 story buildings.And,so it was a peaceful, but kind of crowded city, but we enjoyed, all of me and my nieghbors, we used to enjoy living in the peaceful nieghborhood.

So as far as I remember, the earthquake took place around maybe, 2:00 ish something, I dont remember exactly what was the time, but it was right after coming back from school, I was taking my break, maybe ready to take a nap, before I get up to get my homework done, and it just happened. It was very strong!

It was a very hard experience because after its, the earthquake was gone, like everything was back to normal, and steady, I heard a very strong sound, like a bomb, very strong bomb, and when I rushed to the windows and the balcony to check whatís going on outside, I saw like a sandstorm, it was very, very strong that I couldnít see the buildings behind it. And what I just discovered, right after the sand was settled a little bit and getting a little bit lighter so I cam see through it, I found that the building on the other side, across the street, was gone. It was a huge building, actually this building was bigger than ours, taller than ours, it was almost lilke 18 story building, or maybe 14, I donít remember the figure exactly, but somewhere around that. And it was all collapsed. It was a big, huge hill on the ground!
As I told you it was a very peaceful nieghborhood, we didnít expect something like this to happen at all, and um, people were scared, rushing, but rushing, they donít know what to do. It was just random. They didnít know if they should call the fire department, actually the sirens of the police department and fire departments was on all the time until the night of this day. Like, on. And everybody was like, left their building because they were worried if , like, something would come later, you know like, after the earthquake, is gone some times it hasÖ what they call aftershocks, and they, these aftershocks can be very strong too. It doesnít have to be.. so everybody was worried, everybody left their building and so everybody was in the street! The street was kind of full of people, but mostly people were worried about the people in the building which collapsed! And they went there, and tried to help, but unfortunatley they donít have any clue on how to help these people, and the first thing they did, which was really wrong, that all of them climbed this hill, so they, the load of all those people was on the top of the debris, on the head of those people who were in the building, and it didnít help at all!
And also, to let you know, there was a like miracle happened in this building, there was a guy who was able to sustain for seven, more than seven days yeah, the minute of getting this guy out, after like, everybody, mostly everybody else was dead and he was the only one who was rescued and especially after a very long time, so everybody in the street saw him, they ran to him while he doesnít need all of this emotions at the same time, at this time, and he, the thing that he needed the most was like, helping and to feed him, and you know, just give him some water or whatever, everybody wanted to give him a hug, and you know, to tell him how strong he is, and its a great thing that he could, he was able to sustain and you know, keep his life, for this long [of a] time, but it was good.