36 days without being able to return home and without receiving any help

Tomorrow will be a month and a week since that fateful September 23, 2022, the day of Santa Tecla, in which the torrential rains that fell on the city of Tarragona and its surroundings caused a lot of damage, several of them irreparable. And it is that some of the material damage was so serious that what was the dream of a lifetime for four families became their worst nightmare. This is how the residents of Catllar whose houses were flooded describe the situation they are currently in, unable to return to their homes –and how long it will take–, paying rent –in addition to the mortgage– in order to continue under a roof and fighting against all odds to be able to recover what was his, with the economic, psychological and physical cost that it entails.

Alex Llort and Pilar Molina, Oscar Guillén and Silvia Millán, Missael Chiwo and Guiomar Ibáñez and Àngel Alonso and Sara Calderón are the four couples, all with children, five in total, whose houses located in the Parc Llevant del Catllar urbanization were flooded on the day of Santa Tecla. The chalets are built right next to the Barranc de la Mora and a few meters further down the Diputació de Tarragona is carrying out some works on the TP-2039 road. According to the neighbors, and they assure that it is total evidence, the five-meter wall that the Diputació raised over the ravine, parallel to the bridge where the work is being carried out, to create a temporary road, acted as a dam when the water went down and it stagnated and rose in level until it flooded the four affected houses. "The ravine had gone down full on other occasions, but since there was no wall to cover it, it continued its course without causing damage," says Llort.

To all this, from the Diputació they defend that the works are being carried out with the pertinent authorizations by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA). Likewise, they assure that there are a series of obvious facts, which are the exceptional rains that day and that the area is confronted with a ravine, and point out that they are awaiting information from other organizations to define what degree of responsibility the entity had. supramunicipal in what happened. However, the neighbors point out that the ACA has already said publicly that it did give permission to the Diputació to carry out the works, but with the specification that if damage was caused to third parties, the Tarragona institution would be responsible. At the same time, the families, who are the property developers themselves, point out that "we build with favorable licenses and permits from the ACA and the city council, that is, we are in an area that is not prone to flooding, with a POUM that supports it, and if it flooded that day it is because something was not done well.

Be that as it may, the four families are completely abandoned by the administrations. The houses are uninhabitable and from the first day they asked the Diputació and the Catllar Town Hall for help, so that they could at least give them a housing alternative, but they have not received any help and are currently renting, after spending several weeks installed at the homes of family and friends. Now, in addition to the economic cost of paying rent and a mortgage at the same time, they are spending a large amount of money on lawyers and experts.

Likewise, they are waiting for the Diputació to respond to the instance they presented to purge responsibilities for the damage caused, but it has up to six months to respond. "We do not see the light at the end of the tunnel," lament the families, who assure that if in these six months the Diputació does not respond, they will initiate a contentious-administrative procedure. Something that, however, they are aware of would lengthen and make the entire process even more expensive, which could last for years. However, they acknowledge that "everything must follow certain procedures and must be studied, but we must also remember that on the same night of September 23 they sent an excavator to lower the earth wall that had been made of a dam, for that they acted quickly ».

The Diputació is waiting for information to know what degree of responsibility it had

And the economic question is not everything. Living with anxiety and without rest, because they spend their free time from work meeting with lawyers and doing paperwork, are some of the physical and psychological consequences they are suffering, without neglecting how their children experience it. “What we go through as adults, they go through in their own way as children, and besides, you are not for them,” says Guillén, who adds that “when you put them to sleep you look at them and think that you have lost another day of your life with them, and those who remain, because of these people. This is very hard."

"We are dejected, sometimes we do not know how to continue, and we continue to fight because we are united and we support each other, but the whole situation is overwhelming, it is affecting our lives in every way," the neighbors conclude.

However, the four families have written a letter in which they expose the facts. In it they lament that "we are not just talking about material damage, we are talking about priceless damage such as sleepless nights, anxiety, the impact on our jobs, the impact on our economy, the impact on minors, not having time rest etc. We are exhausted", and they end the text denouncing that "we are facing a Provincial Council of Tarragona that has left four families homeless and the response of the deputies, who in theory are the ones who watch over all of us, has been to ignore us, the greatest contempt ».

36 days without being able to return home and without receiving any help

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