The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY JUNE 8, 1889. THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD.
The awful magnitude of the appalling qataßtrophe whioh last week overwhelmed the populous valley of the Conemaugh oan hardly be realised. History affords no parallel since the flood oi the time of Noah, and Scripture ie silent as to the number of lives destroyed by that terrible display of Divine wrath and power. We have m recent times — only seventy years ago— the great inundation of the Bunn of Outch, at the mouth of the Indus, where the sea broke m and m a few hours submerged 2000 square miles of country. This, bxmerer, wag mostly desert. The Sheffield flood mi n 1864: is olosely resembled by the present disaster, both m cause and effects, but when magnitude is considered the Sheffield inundation fades into nothingness by comparison with that m Pennsylvanj^ Ihe area of the reservoir at Sheffield was 78 acres, that at Johnston nearly 3000 acres. The depth of water m the former Was 95 feet j the water released from the latter oaueed tho country . around to be submerged by a flood 40 f ee t deep. The damage to property at, .Sheffield ms estimated at £827,000 • the loss, of the •Pennsylvania Jttailway Company alone is estimated at £3,000,000, at whioh rate ten millions sterling win probably not cover the total damage. At-^ffield 250 Hies: were lost;' at Johnstown the number is stated at 15,000. And, to go further, m England nearly £5 3,000 was Bubßcribed within twelve months to help the sufferers ; while m America £1,500,000 ie cabled as having been raised within six days of the disaster. yAu area. of fourteen, .miles .. rouu*-- blicffipid^ was Buomerged, and that a similar area has been devastated m America is due to the locality being a somewhat confined valley. Indeed the reservoir whoße bursting caused the flood was m all probability constructed by a dam being built across the valley, and confining the waters of the Conemaugh river or one of its tributaries. In addition to the industrial population of Johnstown, an important iron-manufacturing town, the neighborhood was selected on account of its pleasantness for the residences of many wealthy families whose heads were engagdd m business m the adjacent manufacturing districts. Thus the population of the flooded district was 1 upwards of 50,000, a larger number than is contained m any similar area m New Zealand. Tha number who perished may be said to have equalled the whole population ot the city of Christohurch. The devastation of the district is complete, every building being swept away. We are told that the inhabitants were warned of their danger, but those who gave the warning were, like Noah of old, unheeded. In a few minutes the waters overwhelmed the town, and the inhabitants were carried beyond the reaoh of help, uf the horrors of the scene even the cable has given a graphic description, and we need not dilate upon them, Fire lent its horrors to those of flood, and pestilence is following upon both. Time may Ijave an end without such another catastrophe coming to pass,