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Aberfan survivors recall disaster for regional website

A regional publisher set up a dedicated microsite to mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster today.

A total of 144 people, including 116 children, were killed in the Welsh village on 21 October 1966 when a waste tip from a nearby colliery slipped down the mountainside into the village, engulfing a primary school and 19 houses.

Survivors of the disaster have recalled the horrors they experienced on a special online channel created by Wales Online which went live yesterday afternoon.

Wales Online, which serves as the online arm for the South Wales Echo and Western Mail, divided its coverage into three sections – describing the collapse, the ensuing rescue and “the recovery that never ends”.

A screenshot of Wales Online's dedicated Aberfan disaster anniversary channel

A screenshot of Wales Online’s dedicated Aberfan disaster anniversary channel

Editor Paul Rowland told HTFP: “Fifty years after Aberfan, the emotion and sense of loss from this unimaginable tragedy is still incredibly raw in the local community and through the country.

“When we sat down several months ago to plan how we would cover this anniversary, we were agreed on one priority: to describe the magnitude, the horror, the scandal and the long term impact of the disaster in a way that was concise, direct and, above all, sensitive.

“We realised that none of our own prose could ever convey the true nature of what happened. Instead we drew on the simple facts of the matter, and the words of the only people who can ever truly understand this tragedy: the survivors, and those left to pick up the pieces.

“Everything we’ve published is in memory of the 144 people who died that day, and those who’ve never stopped grieving. Hopefully we’ve in some way done justice to this harrowing tragedy.”


The clock image used on the site was also used on the front page of today’s Western Mail, pictured above.

Meanwhile, the Echo opted to use an image of the landslide bordered by black on its front, pictured below.



The Newport-based South Wales Argus used a picture of the buried school to illustrate the tragedy, accompanied by the date of the disaster.



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