Friday, February 3, 2017

Watching Chiclayanos deal with a flood

It’s interesting to watch how our neighbors are handling flood conditions. There is no despair, anger or anguish that I can see, even from two brothers whose house has been pretty much demolished. Everybody goes about cleaning up and preparing for the next rain with a steady resolve, as if it’s something they do every day, and often with humorous banter amongst themselves as they work. But that’s not always the case.

Two doors to the north is a single-level home constructed of adobe brick. It’s been flooded the last two nights and the family living there don’t think it will stand a third night. This morning they rented a truck, packed it with everything they own and took off for parts unknown. During the 1998 flood nearly all of the homes in this area were made of adobe, and most of them collapsed. The government replaced those houses with real brick at no cost to the owners.

Nearby Promart; the equivalent of Menards and Home Depot in the USA is doing a booming business on galvanized metal sheets, PVC tubes and concrete. The sheets are to cover leaking roofs. Tubes will be used to drain roofs as we did, and to attach to pumps to remove water from houses. The concrete will be used for 6 to 12 inch permanent water barriers in front of doors which means residents will have to remember to step over them when leaving or entering.

A city work crew arrived at 11:00 AM with a small gasoline pump, PCV tubes and soft fabric hose. The plan is to pump the water from this intersection into a canal some distance away. Incredibly, the hose running off to the left continues for about 385 meters (421 yards), more than 4 football fields. It seems to me to be asking an awful lot of that pump.

At 2:00 PM the pump began operating. It took time to set everything up but part of the delay was because the crew said they didn’t have money for gas for the pump. They asked residents to chip in but were refused. I don’t know how that was resolved. Anyway, it’s 6:50 PM and the pump is still running. After five hours, based on a benchmark I eyeballed when the process started, the water level has dropped one inch, and that could be because of evaporation. President Kuczynski, that pump is not going to get the job done.

It’s getting dark now, both because the sun has set and because dark clouds are moving in again from the southeast. We’ll see what tonight brings.

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