Vijayawada

Cyclone memorial cries for attention

A view of cylcone victims memorial constructed during British rule at Gilakaladindi near Machilipatnam in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

People tend to recollect harrowing times of Diviseema uppena, a cyclone that devastated Machilipatnam, whenever a cyclone hits the State. But, here is a cyclone memorial which has faded in the memories of times gone by.

Great tragedy

Close to 30,000 people were swept away by the giant ocean wave over Machilipatnam town on the night of the cyclone of November 1, 1864. Following the great tragedy, Manuel Fruvall had constructed the memorial in the memory of his brother’s family and 30,000 people of this tiny town who died in the cyclone, at Bandarkota village near here.

A plaque put up outside the this monument says that the memorial was constructed in remembrance of Anthony and Maria Fruvall, their sons Peter Manuel and Daniel and their daughter Honey and her children Joseph and Georgiana and 30,000 people who were swept into the eternity by the ocean.

In 1860s, the total population of the town was around 60,000. In remembrance of then Machilipatnam Chief Magistrate G. Thornhill, who strove to control post-cyclone deaths due to spread of several diseases, Mr. Fravell also dedicated the memorial to him, says amateur Historian Md. Silar.

Many people of the town do not even know where the monument is located there. But, fishermen community in the vicinity recollected that thousands were killed in 1864 cyclone.

Many demanded that the government come up with a plan to restore and preserve the memorial.

Mr. Silar says that the monument commemorates the fate of thousands of people.

The memorial withstood vagaries of nature. But, now stands testimony to negligence by government machinery.

Dilapidated monument

The dilapidated monument is surrounded by the bushes and trees. “Our repeated appeals to the District Collector and authorities concerned to protect the heritage fell on deaf ears,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 4:13:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/cyclone-memorial-cries-for-attention/article6503816.ece

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