It is not unusual for victims of flooding and other similar natural disasters, to show anger towards those in government, be it local or national. When people have lost so much – their homes and livelihoods, and perhaps even friends or relatives – then it is a natural reaction to want to find a reason why such devastation hit their lives. This often results in apportioning blame to those in government. Perhaps victims feel there should have been more done to prevent such disasters. Or perhaps more could have been done to help rescue and clean up the area once the floods have hit.
Such heated reactions can be seen in the video clip below, where, visiting La Plata after the flood rains had hit, the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scoli , is jeered by local residents. The cars of the visiting governor’s party were kicked, while other residents shouted and demonstrated their anger, showing their feeling that the government did too little, too late.
At least 49 people have died from the floods. More than 3,000 La Plata residents were evacuated from the houses. There are still problems with electricity and the water supply – estimated 80,000 homes are without electricity. Even the 2 main hospitals are having to go without power as power cuts hit the area. There are also reports of raw sewage flooding the streets. One further problem for locals now is that of looting. There are rumours that some resident groups have set up road blacks to ensure looters cannot get to their particular neighbourhoods.
So, with nearly 50 dead, thousands without homes, tens of thousands without power and water, and looters roaming the streets, it is perhaps understandable that the people of La Plata wished to show their anger at the government.
One angry resident can be see demonstrating in the video:
“they show up now? After we all nearly drowned? They can all go to hell. I’ve lost everything”.
With little help being received from the government, much of the help has fallen to the Red Cross. The Red Cross have taken over a nearby sports or leisure building, and from there have offered shelter in the form of a simple mattress, for those who can’t return to their homes.
One flood victim explains:
“We didn’t receive any assistance. The only thing there is, is the San Martin Club where the Red Cross is and where we put our names down to see if at the very least they can give us a mattress.”
Although the torrential rains have stopped and some of the flood water has receded, the search and rescue teams are continuing their work to find more victims of the flash floods.
There is a debate is attitudes to flooding where on the one hand, the Dutch for example, spend much of their time and resources of prevention, building damns and levees, for example. On the other hand, the USA places the emphasis on preparedness: having plans in place once the floods hit. Sadly it seems, there were neither prevention or preparedness plans in place for the people of Buenos Aires and La Plata.
In the defence of the Argentina government, this disaster was completely without precedent. Referring to just how quickly the flood water levels rose, the governor of the Buenos Aires province, Daniel Scioli said.
“We’ve never seen anything like it. People were taken by surprise, and some didn’t have time to escape this deadly trap,”