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September 25th, 1962 is a day that is marked in black in the Vallès counties, just inland from Barcelona city. That day a massive flash flood left 441 people dead and 374 missing, most in the Vallès Occidental, in addition to the loss of hundreds of homes and dozens of factories, mainly in the towns of Terrassa, Rubí, Sabadell, Sant Quirze del Vallès, Cerdanyola del Vallès and Ripollet among other towns. Sudden, exceptionally-heavy rain overflowed the dry river beds, burst through barriers and destroyed the unregulated construction and housing which, in an era of great immigration to Catalonia, had been built over the previous years. It was estimated that the material losses amounted to 2,700 million pesetas, the approximate current equivalent of around 1 billion euros. More than 300 deaths were recorded in Terrassa itself, in one of the worst tragedies experienced in the Vallès Occidental city. 

Now, as part of the commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of the gran riuada, the great floodthe Terrassa City Council has announced the opening of a process to find children who disappeared or were "stolen" during those tragic events, thus joining the organization Niños desaparecidos that has been working for many years, with the search for witnesses, statements and clues. According to the ACN agency, the initiative was presented this Tuesday right in the "ground zero" of the flood, next to the Arenes creek bed, as part of the commemoration of the events and the start of an in depth historical investigation. In addition to searching for missing children, the project will also proceed to identify those hitherto unidentified victims and quantify the total number of victims, which currently stands at around 300.

Between 50 and 60 missing children

"We estimate that we are talking about 50 or 60 children who disappeared or who were stolen, some disappeared because they were stolen, and we want to know what happened that night and what happened in the following days, what the Franco regime did not do and what must be done right now to repair the damage to many families," explained the mayor of Terrassa, Jordi Ballart, to ACN. In this regard, Ballart emphasized that the wounds of a city where many families are related to the flood of 1962 have not yet healed: "What happened to the aid of the Franco regime and the children who disappeared, who, we have an intuition, may be alive?", he added.

In the investigation, for which the city council will contribute an initial amount of 6,000 euros, it is also intended to establish as accurate a census as possible of fatalities, of those who were injured, missing and of unidentified victims, since the exact figures are unknown and it is planned that a study will be commissioned at the Centre for Historical Studies in Terrassa to collect the names and surnames of all these people. Equally, a process of identification of unidentified victims of the flood, by direct relatives or people with a proven interest, will also be promoted. This will be done by providing access to the Unidentified Victims Photographic Archive to all those who show a legitimate and demonstrable interest in identifying victims who have been lost. All of this, guaranteeing privacy and asking for the maximum possible sensitivity from those interested.