On rainy nights they can’t fall asleep. Closing doors, windows, raising their belongings more than two feet from the ground or organizing with neighbors to close vehicular traffic, became part of their routines to mitigate the effects that the rains leave on their homes. “Josefa”, an inhabitant of the Fátima neighborhood, located in one of the critical points that were affected by the rains that fell in Bluefields in the last two weeks, began her story, in an interview with CONFIDENTIAL, assuring that “if it rains, we don’t sleep because we know it’s going to flood. We have to be aware of the level at which the water is going to reach and awake to avoid misfortunes”.
“Josefa” lives with three other people in her home; two older adult women and a minor, so she, she assured her, when it rains she has to be “alert” in case they have to evacuate. The woman’s house is located between a natural riverbed and a street, which with three hours of rain, collapses with a stream of water that rises up to two feet high.
“We have lived here for forty years. For about twenty years the problem has been getting worse. What is happening is that population growth has been quite disorderly, unplanned, and many of us have complained to the Mayor’s Office, because a micro-basin passes through our patios that leads to the Bay of Bluefields, but people have been allowed to build their homes on the same channel, and that is why now when it rains, more houses are flooded,” he said.
He affirmed that as a family they have not lost so many belongings, because they have taken measures, such as raising the appliances to more than two feet high, so that they do not get wet and damage. However, he recalled that in previous years, with the floods caused by the rains, they lost food supplies that they were unable to raise in time from the currents that entered their property.
He explained that in the “full” of June 15 in his home, only the front and rear corridor was flooded, since, at the beginning of this year, after his property was flooded in December 2021, they took as a measure to place a wall two feet high in each of the entrance doors to the house.
Among the residents of the Fátima neighborhood they also take measures every time it rains. “Josefa” explained that they close the vehicular passage because when there are vehicles circulating “they raise currents that enter our houses, then, there are groups that stand at the entrance of the block so that the vehicles do not pass and another neighbor who has a truck cross in another of the entrances so that they do not pass either. That is a way we have adopted to protect ourselves.”
In the opinion of “Josefa” it is urgent that the authorities of the commune relocate the people who have built on the natural channel, regulate the mismanagement of waste and raise awareness not to throw garbage in the channels, in addition to programming and plan “civil works that direct the waters that will flow into the Bay of Bluefields.”
Housing collapses in Pancasán neighborhood
In the Pancasán neighborhood, in Bluefields, there have also been damages due to the rains. A house in that neighborhood collapsed on June 23, leaving its owner, Etanislao González, with substantial material losses, according to information released on social networks.
The publications refer that the property was located on the edge of a “pipe” and fell towards it after the ground, where its foundations were located, suffered a landslide.
In addition, they indicate that González managed to remove part of his belongings, after a relative warned him that he saw a fissure in the house. However, the losses were considerable, since the house alone was valued at more than 20,000 dollars and had other material goods that he was unable to remove, on the second floor of the property.
Room collapses in Ricardo Morales neighborhood
“Margarita”, 58, lives in the Ricardo Morales neighborhood, in Bluefields. Her house is on the edge of a natural riverbed and the rains have also affected it.
He recounted, in an interview with CONFIDENTIALthat one of the rooms of his house collapsed, after the foundations lost stability due to the undermining of the ground caused by the currents.
The woman works in a bakery, where she earns only 2,000 córdobas a month, and points out that after being affected, she sought help from the Bluefields Mayor’s Office, but they did not give her an answer.
She explained that she delivered a letter asking them to help her raise the foundation posts of the room in her home, but after a week she went to ask and one of the officials simply told her that they could not support her because “the warehouse is empty”.
The woman lives with five other people; three children and two grandchildren, who for now cannot support her financially because they lost their jobs.
He explained that, thanks to the help of a church, he got 2,000 córdobas to repair the posts in the room, but the water continues to leak through the roof.
“The mattress went into the water, the poles broke, everything got wet. Some little things are gone, some dishes, a baton, the food that also got wet, the little I had, as I buy what I can to have the cheapest thing there, but it got wet, it was damaged, ”he recalled.
The woman agrees with “Josefa” and assures that the problem of the “full” is due to “the garbage that they constantly throw in the natural channels.” Therefore, she urged the authorities to have more control over the waste and relocate the people who are in those risk areas.
250 homes flooded
The Mayor’s Office of Bluefields identified, on June 15, after four consecutive hours of rain, 17 neighborhoods affected by floods, seven of these located in “critical points” classified by the municipality.
“In these critical points there was a flood in the riverbeds or pipes that cross the city and that flood of waters flooded some 250 homes, of which three were partially destroyed,” said Gustavo Castro, mayor of Bluefields in an interview with Radio La very costly
He also indicated that the commune “cannot” and “does not have the resources” to respond to the families affected by the rains in that municipality.
“We do not have the resources to build a new home or give them a place where we have plots of land, so it has to be a shared effort and that is what we are doing, not abandoning them, because the vast majority of these people are poor” , he pointed.