When the flood of a river and the State isolate: the oblivion of Casa de Pesca in Chaitén

“We are totally isolated when the river rises,” says the president of the neighborhood council of Casa de Pesca – a town located about 50 kilometers north of Chaitén, Los Lagos Region -, Miguelina Soto. It refers to the river Esas. Given the climatic conditions in the south of the country, it often happens that it grows and prevents people from crossing it.

“On this side of the river Esas we have three children who go to school,” Soto tells The counter. To go to the rural school they have to cross the river. To do this, the infants – one from fifth grade and two from second grade – must go on a horse or in a truck, in the company of an adult. That is, if the weather conditions allow it.

“There are days of a lot of rain when the river does not give way. We have had to take the children out of school in half a day because after that we can no longer cross,” says the leader.

The councilor of Chaitén, John Alvarado (RD), indicates that all the basic services of Casa de Pesca, that is to say, the rural health post, the school, the headquarters of the neighborhood council, are on the north side of Hacelas.

Faced with the need to cross the river, “this difficulty is generated all the time, depending on the conditions of the river to be able to access services that are basic,” says the councilor. He also details that about 50 people are affected by this obstacle.

To the problem of Those is added the geographical isolation of Casa de Pesca. “There is no connectivity along the coast, it has the status of an island, all transportation is done by sea,” says Alvarado.

bridge and drop tender

“What one wants most is the bridge,” says the president of the Casa de Pesca neighborhood association. A request that has been in the community for years. Two years ago, the request was heard and the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) opened a tender for the construction of the bridge, 156 meters long. However, the process fell through.

“There was a government on the ground that was on July 27 and there we were informed, a person from Vialidad came, who said the ‘issue reached there’, the bridge,” says Miguelina Soto.

“What has happened, mainly, from the middle of last year to this part, is that due to the continuous rise in the price of construction materials, the construction company (Ingeniería Civil Aysén Spa) gradually became financially insolvent, until arrive at the moment of abandoning the work”, explains the deputy of the 26th district, Jaime Saez (RD).

“What the community has demanded is that the Ministry of Public Works have a presence in the place and that it inform with greater precision when the construction process is going to resume. The biggest annoyance is that the authorities have not entered into a direct dialogue with the community”, continues the legislator.

Likewise, he comments that “we have been given some information regarding the fact that this work, as well as others in some extreme areas of the Los Lagos Region, are going to be back in execution or in the bidding process during this year, and several works are going to resume more in the summer due to the weather situation”.

However, he slips a criticism against the Government. “It gives the feeling and I am quite convinced that from a more political perspective, the Ministry of Public Works has not known to propose a concrete solution to connectivity in that particular area and in the province of Palena more in general terms. ”, he points out.

Along these lines, he states that “we have there a gigantic potential for a development model different from what we have experienced in recent decades, but that requires investment and a constant state presence that really does not exist today.”

This medium tried to contact the Seremi of Public Works of Los Lagos, Daniel Olhabebut until the closing of the note there was no response.

For Miguelina Soto, the construction of the bridge “would be ideal, it would be paramount” because it is “risky” to cross the river. “TWe have to see if we can cross first before seeing if the kids are going to get to school. And on the way back, too, when we have to cross the river, risking the river carrying his truck,” he relates.

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