The book entitled “The Wake: The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami” by author Linden MacIntyre, tells the story of how one disaster caused more deaths even years after the tragic incident occurred.
On November 18, 1929, Patrick Rennie, a fisherman, lost his wife, three children, his home, and his livelihood when the Newfoundland tsunami occurred. He was left with two sons and a four-year-old daughter.
Rennie eventually worked as a hard-rock miner at the new fluorspar operations in the nearby outpost of St. Lawrence. However, Rennie perished at the age of 60 due to a combination of diseases – tuberculosis, silicosis, and cancer.
Rennie was just one of the many who suffered a wrongful death. The history of these deaths began when Walter Seibert, a New York accountant, discovered that there were fluorspar deposits in the St. Lawrence area.
He found this as an opportunity to gain profit by creating deals with the locals in the area who were mostly fishermen and took advantage of the fact that they did not know of the working conditions of mining.
It was only a matter of time that miners began to suffer serious health issues leading to deaths. In 1965, miner Rennie Slaney had a list of about 91 men who died due to the poor working conditions of the mine. In 2007, the number of people suffering from lung cancer and heart disorders grew to 313 miners.
This scenario sadly still happens at present. When an industrial enterprise is established at a place where there is no government control or proper regulations and oversight, and the local population is desperate to earn a living, then history is bound to repeat itself.