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NAPIER'S TRAGIC FATE. GOVERNMENT RECORDS LOST COMMERCIAL RESTORATION. 1 BUSINESS PEOPLE DUBIOUS. (By Telegrapdi.—Special to "Star. •) WELLINGTON, this day. Reports to hand declare that Napier as a town has been wiped off the map. To-day it is a smouldering heap of ruins and the sepulchre of a prosperous port. People are still wandering the streets hopelessly. The town is a reeking mass of ruins, with hardly one building standing. No report has yet been made as to the numbers who might have died within the building. The back country for miles is covered with cracks in the earth, some too wide for a man to jump. Many buildings which cost £30,000 and upwards to crect are now nothing but ruined brick and mortar. The new post office, opened in 1929, is practically a shell. " A Ghastly Ruin." Passengers from Napier who arrived by train at 8.50 were unanimous in the declaration that it was impossible for anyone who had not actually witnessed the scenes of ruin, desolation and disaster to visualise Napier as it now is. They describe last night as one of continual alarm, with tremors at frequent intervals. Mr. G. Davies, manager in Napier for Australian Mutual Provident Society, described Napier as a ghastly ruin. He expressed the fear that it would be a very long time before it was possible to restore the town to its former commercial status. Business people, upon whom the whole vividness of the disaster was still tho predominating impression, were naturally inclined to doubt if the town would ever recover from the devastating blow. The extent of the damage could only begin to impress the outside public when it was realised, for instance, that all the Government land records had been lost. • So also had the invaluable documents of other institutions and firms.' Search for Bodies. There were many heart-rending scenes as parents sought their children and husbands their wives. Only too often were the searches tragically in vain. It was impossible even for the people hi Napier to ascertain the extent of the loss of life. The whole city was hopelessly disorganised and reports, true and false, could only be collected by word of mouth. The only really accurate information that could be obtained by residents during the night of terror was that which tlieir own circle had actually witnessed. '"'They are finding bodies all the time," said Mr. Davies, "and one doctor told me that tho dead alone would probably total 300. Heaven only knows liow many injured there may be."

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Bibliographic details

Auckland Star, Auckland Star, Volume LXII, Issue 30, 5 February 1931

Word Count

"WIPED OFF MAP." Auckland Star, Volume LXII, Issue 30, 5 February 1931