Tidal Wave Takes 4,000 Lives

News Clip Information

Title of Article
Tidal Wave Takes 4,000 Lives
Name of Newspaper
The Bombay Chronicle
Date of Newspaper
Karachi (Dec 1945)
Page number(s)
Associated Press of India
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

Text written in the news clip

Most Unusual Phenomenon Plays Havoc in Sind. Towering Splash of Water Moves with Fury of Giant. 40,000 Rendered Homeless; Congress Secretary Appeals for Help to the Victims – Karachi, December 4, A.P.I. – 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. In a statement the General Secreary of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee gives the following account collected from the victims of the disaster.

The villages of Chan, Sanhri, Tursia, Hajamro, Jarwari, Nando, Petiani, Usman Ratri and Dabo have suffered heavy casualties and the last named two places have been entirely wiped out.

Flattened to sea-level. 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 on shore, 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 Petiani and he is said to have sustained a loss of Rs. 12,000, at both the places. The casualties at patina were to so severe as at Dabo. The tidal wave at the latter place surges 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 and 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 flung ashore.

Rescued women commits suicide – Karachi, December 4, A.P.I. – 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. The survivors promised to look for them on day-break. But the woman, could not bear the separation from her loved ones. She said that it was useless for her to live without her dear and near ones. Being unable to bear the loss she jumped into the sea and was drowned. In the village of Usman Ratri, near Keti Bundar, it was stated that out of a total population of 3000 persons, only three survived. In Nukkar 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 survived. The fury of the tidal waves was so great that survivors were half dead and they recovered only after several days.

Sky changes color. One of the eye-witnesses describing the disaster said that at about 3-30 a.m. the sky changed its 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 iff their feet. They cried out to the sleeping villagers to arise and rush out for their lives. But hardly had the cry been raised, they were all felled down by a towering splash of waster rushing forward with the fury of a giant, sweeping everything in front of it, -man and beast, 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 perused without gaining consciousness. Daylight revealed the ugly and ghastly results of the disaster and people were terror stricken. With tears in their eyes, they narrated their from tale of woe, of how they had to dig out half-buried bodies of men yet alive, though unconscious of what had happened to them. Not a drop of sweet water was available for the victims, and many dies through sheer thirst, some drank salt water and suffered the consequences.

Congress Secretary’s Appeal. Later on, they were picked up by a boat coming from Keti Bunder to Ibrahim Hydari and even today they are there with surviving members of their families. There was one very aged woman, near 80 years old, whose only earning member a young son, had gone on the eve of the disaster to buy a boat, carrying with him the family’s life savings of Rs. 400. Neither the boatman nor the new boat arrived, having probably met their doom in the disaster. The Congress Secretary says :- “We gave to such indigent families foodstuffs and some monetary help to tide over the times. But what the need very badly today is cloth to cover their bodies, cotton yarn to weave new fishing nets and above all cloth for making new sails, to se 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.”

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Reference Number: NC_IN_0029