"In compliance with what was ordered by Your Excellency in the official letter of 25 of the currents, I must inform you that from the report that I gave, to Your Excellency dated 2 7 until now, which is eight in the morning, They have warned twenty earthquakes and of them, nine with quite a lot of violence, causing major damage to the buildings that have remained standing, having to warn that in the many terraces where there are vents, caused by the earthquakes, their crops are drying up, surely an effect of the material that they have expelled"
The above text comes from the report sent by an agent named Manuel Blasco, "by order of the man in charge of the Guardamar Police judiciary to the Deputy Police Delegate of the Orihuela Party". It is signed in Guardamar del Segura, on March 30, 1829. That official did not know it then, but he was reporting the most destructive seismic event that the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula has suffered in the last 500 years.
Yesterday, more than 12,000 students from all the educational centers in Torrevieja participated in a seismic emergency drill to prevent something like what happened 194 years ago, in 1829, from happening again, when this and other towns in Vega Baja, Alicante, were left devastated
The State Security Corps and Forces and the Emergency services, that is, the Local Police, Civil Guard, Fire Department, SAMU and Civil Protection mobilized 80 troops, helicopters, drones, dogs and rescue vehicles in an earthquake drill.
For the drill, an advanced command post was set up in the main Torrevieja fire station, from where the entire operation was coordinated. In two educational centers (CEIP Cuba and the IES Mare Nostrum) an operational control was installed where the type of rescues that should be carried out in a catastrophe of this type was simulated. In addition, a communications failure was simulated, recreating a common situation in such cases for which the security forces must be prepared.
A monograph from the University of Alicante entitled "The seismic catastrophe of 1829 and its repercussions" explains how the chronicles of the 19th century collect numerous seismic incidents in the area, of different intensity, since 1802. Some of them of notable intensity, such as 15 September 1828, "the date on which an earthquake much stronger than all the previous ones occurred, and more than three hundred followed in the first twenty-four hours, demolishing and mistreating many houses; it became very sensitive in Alicante, Cartagena and Murcia ".
But a few months later, the great catastrophe struck. The most famous chronicle, that of Larramendi, recounted it this way: "On the 21st a small one was heard at noon; at half past six in the evening another louder than all the previous ones was repeated, and a few seconds later one so extraordinary that in a moment Torrevieja and many other towns were left entirely in ruins; hundreds of individuals, livestock, fruits and other effects of all kinds perished; entire families were left buried under ruins, and others in the most appalling misery".
Finally, on Holy Saturday, April 18, "at half past nine in the morning another one was repeated so loud that it was almost equal to the terrible one of March 21: in Torrevieja the shaking and noise lasted three quarters of an hour (?); In the other towns it was not so much, but it also lasted a long time. It extended from east to west much more than that of March 21, so that in Cartagena, which was hardly noticeable then, they experienced it very strongly, and they decided to go out of the houses to spend the nights in barracks in the fields and in the squares".
It is estimated that from September 13, 1828 to March 21, 1829, more than two hundred seismic movements occurred in the area. The one on March 21 caused 389 deaths, 377 injuries, 2,965 homes completely destroyed and 2,396 damaged, demolished the bridges over the Segura in Almoradí, Benejúzar, Dolores and Guardamar, and spread its most serious effects throughout the region.
Although it is remembered as the Torrevieja earthquake, the truth is that half of the deaths were in Almoradí, a town that had narrower streets and taller buildings that collapsed on each other. For this reason, in Almoradí, work has begun to recover a house carried out during the reconstruction after the earthquake, to use it to house the Museum-Memorial of the 1829 Seism.