Buried in the Rubble
Keywords:Aberfan, child death, coalmining, community, disaster, grief
In 1966 an unprecedented disaster struck the small coalmining village of Aberfan in South Wales. 144 lives were lost as thousands of tons of mining rubble hurtled down the mountainside into a local school; not only families, but the community was devastated as the village lost a generation, with 116 children perishing in the rubble. This paper explores the emotional, psychological and physiological affects experienced by the community in the aftermath of such a disaster, and the spiritual coping mechanisms individuals often employ in order to deal with their grief. This case study of Aberfan explores the wider connotations of disaster perception; what causes a disaster? Is it an act of God, an act of nature, or an act of man? A disaster certainly cannot be experienced neutrally, and this article with emphasize the progressive development of attitude, post-trauma, which allows society to construe a disaster as all three of these ‘acts’.
Carr, Lowell J. 1932. “Disaster and the Sequence-Pattern Concept of Social Change,” The American Journal of Sociology, 38.2, 212–18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/216030
Doel, M., and M. Dunkerton. 1991. Is It Still Raining in Aberfan? Herefordshire: Logaston Press.
Dynes, Russell R. 1997. The Lisbon Earthquake in 1755: Contested Meanings in the First Modern Disaster. Newark, DE: University of Delaware, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Disaster Research Center, Preliminary Paper, 255.
Davies E. (chairman). 1967. Report of the Tribunal Appointed to Inquire into the Disaster at Aberfan on October 21st 1966. HL 316, HC 553. London: HMSO, 131–32.
England, E. 1982. An Unfading Vision. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Freud, S. 1924. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. USA: Boni & Liveright.
Furedi, F. 2005. “How We Deal with Disasters.” http://www.spiked-online.com (accessed July, 2011).
Johnes, M., and I. McLean, eds. 2000. Aberfan: Government and Disasters. Cardiff: Welsh Academic Press.
Madgwick,G. 1996. Aberfan, Struggling out of the Darkness. Mid Glamorgan: Valley & Vale.
McLean, I. 1997. “On Moles and the Habits of Birds: The Unpolitics of Aberfan,” Twentieth Century British History, 8.3, 285–309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/8.3.285
Miller, J. 1974. Aberfan a Disaster and its Aftermath. London: Constable and Company.
Morrell, A. 2006. “Aberfan: Why Me?” http://www.walesonline.co.uk (accessed June, 2011).
Quarantelli E. L. 2001. “Disaster Planning Emergency Management and Civil Protection: The Historical Development of Organized Efforts to Plan for and to Respond to Disasters.” Unpublished manuscript held at Disaster Research Center University of Delaware, Newark DE
South Wales Police. 1966. “Aberfan Disaster.” http://www.south-wales-police.uk (accessed May, 1994).
Wolfenstein, M. 1957. Disaster. Glencoe: The Free Press.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.