Cyclone Bhola

East Pakistan - Cyclone Bhola - Blink an eye and a half-million are gone.

November 16, 1970 – Middle East: Glimmers Of Hope – East Pakistan: Shards Of Despair

Cyclone Bhola
East Pakistan – Cyclone Bhola – Blink, and a half-million are gone.

November 16, 1970 – NBC Nightly News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

November 16, 1970 – a day of profound contrasts. In the Middle East, word from Tel-Aviv that Israel may rejoin the Peace talks, even though Egypt had not withdrawn all of its missiles from a prohibited zone along the Suez Canal. Prime Minister Gold Meir told the Israeli Parliament she had never expected Egypt to meet the demand for a full withdrawal. She said Israel and the United States were continuing their talks at aiming for resumption of the peace process. The most likely formula (not yet agreed upon) would appear to be a partial withdrawal of the missiles, plus increased United States Military assistance to Israel. Former Israeli Premier David Ben-Gurion said Israel made a grave error in demanding the missiles be withdrawn, emphasizing that he spoke only for himself, Ben-Gurion told a French newspaper that Israel needed to withdraw from all Arab lands seized during the 1967 war, except Jerusalem and the Golan Heights of Syria.

And Relief officials in East Pakistan revised the casualty figure from the Bhola Cyclone to 55,000 dead and they added that figure could go five or six times higher than that in the coming days. The devastation and loss of life in this latest disaster were incredible; some of the Tidal waves and Cyclones which swept across this region were making their grim statistics apparent now. For example; there were thirteen large islands near Chittagong which, as of the previous Thursday, were swarming with people. On this day, not one single person was left alive. The loss of life along the coast itself, a place of swamp, jungles and little villages might never be precisely reckoned. Some Pakistani officials claimed the storm may have taken as many as half million lives. Even if the final total proved to be less than that, this storm would surely go down as the most destructive of this century and possibly in the history of natural disasters.

And that’s only a tiny portion of the news that made up this November 16, 1970 as reported by NBC’s Nightly News.

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