Republished from The Argentina Independent
On the beginning of April, a torrential downpour hit the greater Buenos Aires area. La Plata was hit especially hard, and 51 deaths were reported, in addition to six in the city limits of Buenos Aires. Many have said that the infrastructure was not properly prepared for such a storm. City mayor Mauricio Macri was among those who lambasted the national government for failing to take measures to improve the sewage infrastructure, however he was not exempt from criticism himself. The Indy took to the streets to see what porteños had to say about this tragedy.
Guido Gazzoli, 58, journalist, Recoleta.
Unfortunately the matter of La Plata is something that is really connected with the political situation of this country, where if you think the opposite, if you have a different idea about the government, you are an enemy. They didn’t give money to develop the project for avoiding what happened in La Plata. And this is a very simple question with a very simple answer… The matter is that this country is absolutely ill with not respecting different ways of thinking. It is practically an oligarchy. Totally. If you check Argentine history you will discover that whoever got the power first of all eliminated the enemy. The political enemy. Then, if we’ve got time, we can also think about doing something for the country. If they could carry out all the projects that they designed… but unfortunately if the government doesn’t push money to the municipality of Buenos Aires, they can do nothing. Without money, you can come up with a lot of projects in your mind, but if the projects are not carried out, the situation will stay the way it is. It’s absolutely clear for everybody why it happened. God intervened, of course, because climate change is incredible all over the world, but human beings played the other part. For instance, in Buenos Aires, for four years we tried talking about a tunnel to send the water into the Rio de la Plata. It’s still a design made by Walt Disney.
Adolfo Sarabia, 73, lawyer, Recoleta.
I think it’s a grave error by the people that they did not make the investments that they should have. If they had made investments, there would not be a flooding; but they did not make investments, so there was a flooding. If they had made the investments, they would have spent the money on that [instead of on recovery efforts]. The government has been negligent, sure. Of course. The government should make some changes, but I’m not convinced, because I do not yet trust the people that are representing the people. I do not trust this government. I want the works to get done but I do not believe that someone is going to do it. I want them to at least get started.
Beatriz Acuña, 43, stay-at-home mother, Palermo.
It is regrettable but there are also many factors when it comes to climate. Argentina is not prepared because it has never had these problems. There is a terrible negligence. I don’t know anyone directly, but the parents of a friend of mine were affected. They lost everything. I don’t think that it could have been avoided, but many people could have been saved and there did not have to be so much destruction. There have to be changes now with this, for prevention’s sake. But we’ll have to see because here the funds that are meant for investment do not go to the investment of the country.
Mateo Rodriguez, 24, waiter, Lanús.
It was a very big storm, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the government. I think that there has to be political help but it was a big storm. If the drains can’t take it, they will fail as well. It was a problem they were not reconstructed, but it was more the fault of the storm. I don’t [want to see changes to the drain system]. Yes, there were people at fault. This happened over a long period of time. Not only the current government, but past governments as well. There is not a project with a long-term aim. It’s not that I don’t care about it, but there is not going to be a solution in the near future. Further along, maybe, but right now? No.
Veronica Orsi, 26, photographer, Belgrano.
The material losses and losses of life were terrible, but there was practically no response by the politicians and the people responded, and to me this is the most valuable thing. I worked with Fundación Sí. I did what I could from home and I collaborated with the foundation to help load trucks and separate clothing. I think the problem here is that money for public works was never well distributed previous [to the storm]. We have sewers from 1900 and the climate situation is not like it was back then. So it’s complicated that there’s not public investment. But the truth is that the storms that they had are so bad that they would have to demolish some of Buenos Aires and the surrounding areas [to make the changes], so it’s really complicated to be honest. There should have been foresight on the part of the state, but there definitely should have been remedies from the state and there weren’t. I don’t think that there will be many changes because it is an exclusively climate-related issue that needs a lot of public investment in order to restructure the drains of all the city and of La Plata also. There should make a multimillion investment and there was not money to pay the teachers, so if there’s no money for health and for education, then infrastructure is going to come in last place. We have a serious problem. We have to restructure the entire sewer system.