First María and now Fiona: Aibonito’s family loses their house again

After rebuilding her house after the onslaught of Hurricane María, with her own effort and without assistance from the government or agencies, Evelyn Cardín could barely express herself yesterday, looking at the house whose roof flew off, again, with Fiona’s scourge.

“I went up to get some water. And when I went up there I felt like the ceiling went up. It scared me, and there I came running. And when I opened the door, there the ceiling went flying and a piece of a board hit me. And there I came running down ”, she managed to relate, with a broken voice Evelyn. The saddened woman was with members of her family downstairs, which, although it has a roof, also filled with water and was still leaking everywhere. In that marquee, they were taking a break from cleaning, between clothes and items put out to dry, her sister Delia, the husband of the latter who is a person who uses a wheelchair due to a disability, their granddaughter, and the great-grandson, who lives with them in that house in the Pasto neighborhood, in Aibonito.

Upstairs, in the house that lost its roof, furniture, walls and practically everything, it was seen to be ruined by the incessant rains.

“With Maria he also left. It’s the second time,” Evelyn lamented. “I did it backwards by myself. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) did not help me, not at all. I did it by myself. They told me that I was not eligible, because I was living abroad. But I have already retired and now I am living here.”

“Everything is gone. Again. Now I lost it with Fiona too. Twice”, she reiterated, almost sobbing, and letting it be known that she hopes that this time she will provide help to rebuild the house.

On the ground floor, where the family usually gathers, Delia explained that so much water leaked and entered, “in all the rooms.”

“That was as if we were in a river there in the room. We are still drawing water, fixing, drying. We lost the beds, they get wet. The same thing happened with Maria. According to her upstairs she left, she got into the water downstairs and damaged everything. And they didn’t help us, there was no help from anyone,” Delia added. “Five years and again we live the same thing, the same experience.”

He added, with a tone of resignation, that, to get up after María, they had to do it with loans, “we worked, we made a couple of pesos and we put them into the house, little by little. Now, we will have to do the same thing again. Let’s try and see if they help us this time. If not, start over.”

If anyone wants to help this family, they can contact Delia Cardín at the number 787-392-9641, a number to which they can also send donations through ATH Móvil.

Meanwhile, in the Roble neighborhood, another family struggled to remove the mud from a landslide that occupied part of their patio, against one of the walls of the residence.

“It really went downhill little by little, we didn’t think it would get to this point. We concentrated on keeping the waters fully channeled so that something like this would not happen. But unfortunately the fall of the water has been unstoppable, as you can see now that it is raining. And so it kept going down, little by little. We kept trying to channel the water, but there were really no options. He continued to go down the mountain in an uncontrollable way, ”said Yamilette Collazo, who was removing mud with her husband Rubén Rosado and her daughter Fabiola Núñez.

He argued that, although the residence seems to be standing firm and without major damage from the landslide, he is particularly concerned about a piece of cement debris “that could collide with the gas tank. In addition, the slide has “fully blocked the emergency exit.”

Collazo requested the help of the authorities to channel the water, “because the problem comes from above.” He added that, on a previous occasion, “the front area fell, and we were able to clean it up and control it, but this time it really was too much.”

Likewise, she was concerned that there could be more landslides if the rain does not stop, “because there are two springs going down there. We have to make a curb and control the waters”.

“We understand that the structure (of the house) is not compromised at the moment. But definitely if the water continues, and continues to recede, it will reseal the water and the house will flood, and the ‘jeep’ will flood and everything will flood,” he said, adding that it was the first time that this situation occurred there, and that when María struck five years ago, only “a few amounts of land fell.”

“There is no risk to life at this time, but anything can happen if the water continues and does not stop,” he insisted, while continuing to clean and open channels for the water that continued to come down from the hill to pass.

Meanwhile, in the Pinos neighborhood, a group of workers worked with heavy machinery to contain the collapse that had caused a landslide in an area that, precisely, was a reconstruction work for damage caused by María already in progress.

Fortunately, as described by Carlos Santana, inspector of the project, although the road was lost in that section, the works that had begun served to contain the landslide and that it did not cause damage to the houses down the hill.

“Basically, the runoff that comes from the hill and from the mountain exceeded the mitigation measures that had been taken so that the runoff would not have an effect on the project. Concrete barriers had already been placed, it had been sealed below and in between with cold asphalt and plastic sheets had been placed covering the entire slope. But as we know, the runoff in all of Puerto Rico was abnormal, a rain of more or less than 100 years, and caused the works to be substantially affected,” explained Santana, while the brigade opened a gap “to take a temporary step ” to the residents of the area.

He added that not all the work that had been done was lost, but said the scope of the work would change, because the collapse is now a much larger one than the original. “The original project that was being built is still under construction, but it is going to undergo some changes due to the Fiona disaster.”

In addition to these situations already described, the Emergency Management teams of the Municipality of Aibonito continued to attend to countless situations of tree cutting, cleaning of roads affected by landslides, in addition to a dramatic rescue in the morning of a man who He crashed and was left waist-deep in mud.

“Like everyone else, we had landslides, rains, gusts. Aibonito is the highest town above sea level. The winds here are more blowing stronger, the rain falls more. And that’s basically what happened to us,” said interim mayor Sandra Rivera.

He added that “obviously, our poultry farmers, the chickens, the only fresh chicken industry in the country is in Aibonito, and they were also affected.”

“And our flower growers, Easter for Christmas also had their damage,” he added.

At the time, he said, they still did not have more precise figures for the losses in these industries, “but we know that basically everyone was affected.”

Rivera commented that they had already managed to open “all the main highways so that supplies, gasoline, etc. could arrive. The main accesses of Aibonito, both for Coamo, Barranquitas, Cidra, Salinas, are open”.

Meanwhile, personnel from the Citizen Services Office began to deal with individual assistance to deal with situations and damage to homes and private property.

He maintained that, fortunately, they did not have any situations in which people’s lives were at risk. “Basically, everything is controlled. After yesterday’s rains, there were obviously new landslides, which were addressed this morning.”

“Now we have, obviously, the electricity, which we know will take time, the water, which is completely at zero,” said the interim mayor, who added that Mayor William Alicea was off the island, but monitoring the situation.

First María and now Fiona: Aibonito’s family loses their house again