Title of Article
4,000 Lives Lost in Tidal Wave
Name of Newspaper
The Free Press Journal
Date of Newspaper
Karachi (Dec 1945)
Name of translator
Cross References to other version
Media of source
Bound newspaper volume (Photograph)
Name of Source (Where the news clips obtained)
Directorate of Archives, Maharashtra State, Mumbai
4,000 lives lost in Tidal Wave; Number of Villages Wiped Out – Karachi, December 4 – Over 40,000 people have been rendered homeless, 4,000 villagers have died and several villages have been washed away along the hundred-mile coast from Karachi to Keti Bunder. These are estimates of the havoc wrought by the recent earthquake and tidal waves, made by a party of nine Congress workers, who visited the scene.
Gruesome tale : The Government of Sind has not received full details of the tidal wave disaster but it is confirmed in official circles that several villages have been washed away and a large number of lives have been lost. The Assistant Collector of Karachi, in whose jurisdiction the scene of the disaster lies, has gone to Keti Bunder, about 100 miles south of Karachi and the Sind Government is awaiting his report. In a statement the General Secretary of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee gives the following account collected from the victims of the disaster. The villages of Chan, Sanhri, Tursian, Hajamro, Jarwari, Nando, Petiant, Usman Ratri and Dabo have suffered heavy casualties and the last named two places have been entirely wiped out.
Strewn with corpses. Dabo was situated on a sandy hillock and it had a population of 400 persons, with a hundred huts. Today all the huts have gone and the hillock itself has been flattened to sea-level. The coast there is now strewn with wood scantlings, and every day some corpses, mutilated and decomposed beyond recognition, and thousands of dead fish are washed ashore, poignant reminders of the once prosperous, busy, village fisheries before the great deluge. Out of the 400 inhabitants in Dabo, at least 125 have perished, of whom 60 corpses were recovered and buried. the rest had their watery grave. Seth Tarachand Bahrumal had branches of his firm in Dabo and Pettiani and he is stated to have sustained a loss of Rs. 12,000 at both the places.
Washed into the sea and flung ashore. The casualties at Pettiani were not so sever as at Dabo. The tidal waves surged forward with such force that the victims, men, women and children were unable to keep their balance and were flung about like bits of straw. Some strong limbed persons clung to tree-tops, as they were swept off their feet, while others clutched to logs or boats, which were carried into the sea to a distance of two miles and were again flung ashore. One of the rescued women on the raft, when she had recovered consciousness, started searching for her husband and children. No trace could however be had of them. Being unable to bear the loss she jumped into the sea and was drowned.
3 out of 300 survive. In the village of Usman Batri, near Keti Bundar, it was stated that out of a total population of 300 persons, only three survived. In Nukkhar village, from a family of 23 persons, only one survived to tell the bitter story. Yet at another place only one out of a family of 13 has survived. the fury of the tidal waves was so great that survivors were half dead and they recovered only after several days.
Eye-witness story. One of the eye-witnesses, describing the disaster, said that at about 3-30 a.m. the sky changed color. it became reddish in the West and a column of fire shot up from the waters to the sky. The faint sickle of moon was covered with reddish mist and a defining thunder roared that shook them off their feet. They cried out to the sleeping villagers to arise and to rush out for their lives. But hardly had the cry been raised, they were all felled down by a towering splash of water, rushing forward with the fury of a giant, sweeping everything in front of it – man and beat, houses and trees. the place was echoing with the poignant and heart-rending cries such as “O merciful Allah, save us.” And all around there was confusion and destruction. Those who slept soundly in their huts never knew that a great disaster had overtaken and they must have perished without gaining consciousness. daylight revealed the ugly and ghastly results of the disaster and people were terror-stricken.
Congress appeal for relief. The Congress Secretary says; “We gave to indigent families foodstuffs and some monetary help to tide over the times. But what they need very badly today is cloth to cover their bodies, cotton harm to weave new fishing nets and above all cloth for making new sails, to set their broken boats in order once again and to ply them in the fishing season which is now on and thus to wipe out the scars of this earthquake havoc, unprecedented in the living memory of these simple, honest, God-fearing men. Both the Government and public must supply their needs at once, if they are to be saved from further misery and misfortune.”