THE EARTHQUAKE IN SOUTH AMERICA.
All other terrors are nothing by the side of the great calamity reported from South America. It is the proximity of those disasters which make them more vivid to Europeans, and the details of the narrative come rapidly but in literal piecemeal to us. It is a stupendous calamity, evidencing the existence of forces before which the whole human race is powerless ; but we have not realised it "as we have these nearer events, and mainly because of the manner in which the news has reached us, like a half -told tale of which we can't be sure, breaking, with uncertainty, the keener edge of our interest. I cannot do better than abridge from the New York Tribune, which gives the best account which has yet appeared, based on the private letters received in New York by merchants -doing business in the country where the calamity occurred. It now appears that the loss of life was due less to the direct than the indirect effects of the earthquake through supervening disease. According to the Tribune, the locality where the earthquake occurred is the great coffee district of South America. The region affected by the shocks covers five degrees of latitude, and is 500 miles wide. The shock extended in a N.E. direction along the northern range of the Andes. It was felt first very perceptibly at Bogata, the capital of New Granada. Thence it seemed to travel north, gathering intensity as it advanced, until it reached the S.E. boundary line of Magdalena, where the work of destruction began, continuing as it advanced along the eastern boundary of Magdalena, following the line of the mountain range, and destroying, in part or whole, the cities of Cucnta, San Antonia, Elbosario, Salazar, Sun Cristobal, San Cazetano, and Santiago. The destruction was greatest in Gramalo, Arboledas, Cucutillas, and Cucuta. Of the 14,000 persons who died from the effects of the earthquake only about 5,000 were killed outright. The remainder died in a short time from fever and lockjaw, which in that region nearly always supervene whßn severe injuries have been received. The first premonition of the terrible visitation occurred on the night of 17th May, when, a strange rumbling sound was heard beneath the ground, although no earthquake occurred. Next morning a terrible shock occurred, which brought consternation to all the inhabitants of Cucuta. It suddenly shook down the walls of houses, tumbled down churches and the principal buildings, burying the citizens of the place in the ruins. Another shock completed the work of desolation, by throwing down the walls that still remained standing. Three more shocks followed of equal intensity. Shocks with lesser force seem to have been felt throughout the whole region for two days afterwards; extending to Cartagena and the western sea-coast. .The scenes that followed are described as being most fearful and terrible. In this hour of destruction, when men and women were praying for relief and mercy, others who had escaped began an indiscriminate search of the ruins for treasure, and in many cases robbing the dying and dead. In some instances the robbers murdered persons who were caught in the falling timbers, and who could not extricate themselves, though only slightly injured. The vaults of the banking houses were penetrated, aud large sums of money stolen. Then, to add to the horror of the calamity, the Lobotera volcano suddenly began to shower out lava in large quantities, or, as a correspondent writes, "It sent a mass of molten lava, in the form of incandescent balls of fire, into the city." Some of these balls fell upon the German*drug stores, setting them on fire. Immediately the flames communicated with the adjoining dwellings. A shower of lava set the ruins of the large city in flames, while the earth was still quaking. Affairs are in a terrible state. The bodies of the dead are becoming decomposed under the tropical heat, and the stench fills the atmosphere for miles around. The earthquake is considered the most disastrous of the last two centuries. — Argus.
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