In Alicante two small lads, both homeless orphans, were carried away by the torrent, and, locked in each others arms, were rapidly borne towards the sea. They managed to clutch hold of a palm tree on the sea front and were rescued, after holding on for several hours, by a rope which was thrown to them. It is feared that the number of victims in Alicante is considerable.
ANDREW ATKINSON reports.
DEVASTATION in Spain nearly a century ago was unearthed this week while researching Archives from 1919. I came across the headline news ‘Houses demolished: Terrible Flood Devastation in Spain’ on Friday October 3 1919 in the Lancashire Daily Post. The report, filed by Reuters from Madrid October 2 reads: The news received here regarding the floods is practically confined to the towns of Valencia, Alicante and Carthagena.
The almost total interuption of communities making it impossible as yet to ascertain the effects of the disaster in the country districts of the provinces affected. At St Blaise, nr Valencia, a hut occupied by five persons was caught by the torrent and carried away. Three dead bodies were subsequently recovered at a considerable distance away.
The Archbishop of Valencia, while on a Pastoral tour of the Province, was isolated by the floods and remained a prisoner for two days. At Alicante the glass roofs of the markets and of the interior courtyards of houses gave way under the weight of the enormous hailstones which in some cases are piled up to a height of four to five feet inside the buildings. A number of smalldwellings have been demolished.
The breaking of bridges and railways in various places has rendered all traffic impossible. In one suburb of Alicante a hut containing six persons was carried away by the current. Five of the occupants were found drowned a mile and a half away. In Alicante itself two small lads, both homeless orphans, were carried away by the torrent, and, locked in each others arms, were rapidly borne towards the sea.
They managed to clutch hold of a palm tree on the sea front and were rescued, after holding on for several hours, by a rope which was thrown to them. It is feared that the number of victims in Alicante is considerable. At Carthagena 18 dead bodies have been recovered up to the present. A school collapsed in the commune of Pacheo, a lady teacher being crushed to death.
Streets are impassable. There is almost total lack of drinking water in Carthagena, owing to the bursting of the pipes and the destruction of the wells. A torpedo boat is carrying the mail service with the nearest port. Supplies of grain and flour are being sent immediately from various centrres – Reuters.
The headline in 1919 of the terrible flood devastation in Spain
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