After week of heavy rains, people return to empty houses
Hundreds of families from neighborhoods in Greater Santo Domingo are returning to their homes to remove all the accumulated mud due to last weekend’s torrential downpours. It will take time to rebuild their lives because they were left without beds and appliances such as stoves and refrigerators.
Some return with the little they can save before the waters sweep everything away. Still, most are taking out rotten mattresses, stoves, refrigerators, and damaged clothing, but this time without the hope of government aid.
Still yesterday, some 80 families of Tamarindo Adentro and La Tablita, in Santo Domingo East, remained housed in houses under construction close to where the rivers occupied their homes because they are still full of mud, without beds, stoves, refrigerators, clothes, and other belongings.
More than one hundred families of Tamarindo Adentro saw their homes entirely flooded by the Ozama, Tosa, and Tiburón rivers, which mercilessly hit the entire area.
Angelina Zapata, who lives at the end of H Street, narrates that most of those who live near the rivers mentioned left some belongings hooked inside their houses. Still, the waters were so high that the floods completely covered the places, damaging everything inside.
Mother of five children, the youngest of which is only nine months old, says that she could save the stove, the refrigerator fell with the flood and was damaged, and she was only left with the clothes she wore during the emergency.
She laments that a week after the disaster, no authority went to the place to observe, bring food mattresses, and evaluate the damages to resolve them, if possible.
Santiago Sandino, a member of the Civil Defense, also lost everything they had in his house; he could not save anything because he was dedicated to serving the neighbors.
“I was left with nothing; clothes, television, stove, radio was damaged, now I am practically in the street, living with things that some churches and foundations have donated,” he expresses.
In the neighborhood of Los Coordinadores, in Santo Domingo Norte, most families began to dig out mud and pour water to return to their reality, but all they found inside was mud.
José Miguel Báez, although his house is in a high part of the Ozama sector, reached up to the roof, while others did not even find the zinc outside.
“We are forgotten here, it seems that we are not human beings, we have no other place to live but here; it is strange that the government did not come to help us even though we lost everything,” he said.
Francisco Antonio Alvarez said that the flooding of the Ozama was so fast that there was no time to get anything out and that he even saved his four children in a refrigerator box that he used as a dinghy.
In the same way, she saved four pigs she raised in the backyard, which she has not yet been able to return to look for because of the mud that remains in the way.
“But the refrigerator and stove were damaged, we were left without a bed and practically without clothes; now the children are sick and without help from the authorities,” he says.
He reveals that the only help they received was from some evangelical church pastors. Otherwise, they would have died of hunger and thirst.
The cry for lack of official support extends to other marginalized neighborhoods such as Ribera del Ozama, La Javilla, under the Francisco del Rosario Sánchez bridge, in Santo Domingo East, where the help they expected after the floods did not arrive, and the situation is still dire.