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Remembering Aberfan

Most of you reading might not even know what this means.

I was asked to do an interview this morning on UCB about the 55th anniversary of Aberfan.

A disaster struck a mining community at 9:15 am on Friday 21st October 1966. A Coal slag heap collapsed and slid down into the valley encompassing the junior school and several houses of the street it was on. 144 people died. 109 children from the school plus 5 teachers, everyone else from the street below.

Words can't fathom how compliancy, arrogance, laziness, and so on, can create an unchecked disaster in the making. They had built up a slag heap 111 meters high on top of a stream which eventually de-stabilized it.

The local miners (around 400 of them) were on-site within hours, trying to pull the children out. The NCB (National Coal Board) of the time, was slow to act. The Government was slow to act and somewhat ignored the needs of the community, the Queen, slow to respond, all well documented as the families of all these children struggled to both come to terms with the loss, before even thinking about the future.

I recorded a piece with Paul Hammond today about the disaster, I hope I found the right level to describe how hopeless it was, and perhaps its spiritual redemption.

I cried before the interview, reminding myself of the devastation and I certainly cried afterward, still thinking about how these precious families go through each day.

You might say where is God in this kind of trouble. You might say this was an act of God. It wasn't it was an act of man's incompetence and arrogance.

On the spiritual side, God have mercy, provide us a refuge as I suggest through Psalm 46. Come Lord Jesus and give this precious community a future that includes You.

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