A YOUNG performer described her terror after the Japanese earthquake struck while she was working at Disneyland Tokyo.

Eva Hodgkinson, 21, was forced to return home to Ashcombe Close, Leigh, after spending just over a fortnight in Shiba, Tokyo.

She was due to stay until April next year, after securing a place at the theme park for a second year running.

Eva said: “I auditioned for a place last year in London. When I found out I was accepted again I was really excited.

“On the day of the earthquake we were rehearsing for an Easter parade and had a five-minute break. We were having a drink when, all of a sudden, lockers in the room started moving from side to side.

“Last year there was something similar that lasted just seconds. This went on for about five minutes.”

She was told to leave the building. As she ran down some stairs the whole building shook.

She said: “Everyone was screaming and it was difficult to get down.”

Eva, a former student at Masters Performing Arts College, Rayleigh, had arrived in Tokyo on March 2. After being advised by Disney to return home, she met her mother, Bernadette, at Heathrow Airport last Friday.

Eva said: “I was probably six hours away from the epicentre. It was still really scary.

“The Disney park was shut off, but apparently there was a lot of damage, with cracks in the floor and huge speakers had fallen and smashed.”

Eva, who was set to dress up at the theme park as several characters, including Tinkerbell and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, describ-ed seeing huge cracks in pavements and streets flooded with mud.

She said: “I thought it was safer to come home. Hopefully I will be able to go back soon, but Disney think it may not be until May.

“It’s an awful situation. I was with people who travelled to Tokyo to work for Disney. Quite a few said they won’t go back.”

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11 has killed more than 9,000 people. About 13,000 more people are still missing.