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  • Saturday, December 07, 2019
  • St. Ambrose

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Communication

Damage by flood in the Barrio Mitre

Mayo 2013 | ODN |

324 dwellings – about 450 families impacted – 2,500 occupants. One of the dwellings is the home of a community of 4 sisters of the Company of Mary who have lived there since 1977.

Last April 2nd at 3:30 a.m. a very heavy and persistent rain caused severe flooding of the streets. The flood reached the height of almost 5 feet, and the rain lasted 6 hours.

Four persons died. Countless belongings, furniture, cars, artifacts have been lost…families have been psychologically affected, and their houses are greatly deteriorated and in deficient condition, resulting in illness and infections…pulmonary, bronchial, bone or muscular, some long, some short-term.

At present the houses are relatively clean, but drying very slowly.

From the day of the flooding, the Community Center became a shelter offering help for 12 hours each day. The help was impressive, with numerous young and adult volunteers from colleges and parishes who came to the rescue of the Barrio: visiting families, cleaning houses, organizing clothing, food, and cleaning supplies. They worked without stopping to attend those in the Center and in the homes of the victims. They repaired furniture; they assembled donated furnishings, with special attention to the older and handicapped persons.

The Barrio is very precarious. It was built through a plan for emergency housing more than 50 years ago. There seems to be a problem with the land (it is low), and the drainage and sewer system is hazardous because the sewage has emerged to the surface. The flow of the water was overwhelming.

The city disregards the maintenance and cleaning of the streets, which caused obstructions in the draining of the water. All around, large commercial buildings have been built, and the neighbors say that all the drainage from those gigantic estates ends up in the Barrio. It is known that equally devastating or worse floods will be forthcoming. The people of the Barrio are thinking about how to confront this reality, since it is presumed that a solution from the government will not be immediate. The parcel of land for each family is minimal and, as customary in the Barrio, two or three numerous families live in each house. Many of them have no resources to move to other areas. Most of them are hard-working people who strive to survive with dignity. There are socially high-risk families. In general, it is a very “marginalized” barrio, victimized and criminalized, and this conditions their possibilities for finding employment and achieving human and professional development.