Three paragraphs

a 3 para

Not as bad as the 1868 earthquake and tsunamis where 25,000 died, but still pretty serious. This is an example of how the God-fearing 19th century took on board a natural disaster without the handwringing cliché-ridden sentimentalism with which 24 hour news has sensitised the world.

This June 30 1877 report is from a provincial paper in the west of the UK, a paper likely to have been read by relatives of some of those un-named Cornish miners. But the death of the 200 makes it to paragraph two of a three paragraph story. How different it would be nowadays.

“As I stand beside this pile of rubble that 24 hours ago was a building at the top of the mineshaft… every few minutes there is a call for silence as rescuers listen for survivors… and then a cheer goes up as a miner is rescued alive from the devastation. But mostly it is simply another sad, blanket covered body that is pulled from the scene of this tragedy and taken through the crowd of anxious family members gathered in small groups, some sobbing and inconsolable while others wait in silence amid the dust and devastation of this once quiet hamlet… This is Betty Reporter, CNN, at the aftermath of the earthquake in Tocopilla, Peru”

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