Society 02/09/2021

Chaos and anguish in Les Cases d'Alcanar

"If this had happened a week ago it would have been a tragedy", Ivan Escoda, resident of Les Cases campsite

Júlia Albesa
3 min
The promenade of the Houses of Alcanar

TortosaThe residents of Les Cases d'Alcanar have been cut off from communication in one of the heaviest water downpours in recent times. Trafalgar Street, located at the beginning of the coastal town, has become a muddy ravine that has flooded the roads, houses, car parks and has taken cars, chairs and everything that it has found with it. The Wednesday waterspout also caused chaotic scenes, as explained by Quique Queralt, a resident of Les Cases d'Alcanar: "This has never been seen before. All the vehicles parked at the top of the village have appeared on the promenade; even in the sea. It took me more than two hours to get home; the road between La Ràpita and Les Cases was impossible because of the falling rocks".

The hardest part was taken by the Les Cases campsite. The firefighters of the Generalitat have had to make several rescues, especially of elderly people who live there in summer. The situation has been very distressing, according to Ivan Escoda, who has been living at the campsite with his family for the last two months. "We were in the caravan when suddenly the wall of the campsite gave way due to the force of the water coming down. The water dragged cars into the sea and moved caravans. This is a disaster area. Everything is under the sea". Escoda explained that the campsite is now half empty and that only families and elderly people who are already regular residents are staying there. "If this had happened a week ago it would have been a tragedy", he said. The fire brigade had to help his family to get out of the caravan. No damage was done. Throughout the afternoon they helped neighbours by removing water and mud from their caravans. For the families who suffered the most damage, the campsite itself has given them flats to spend the night.

In the countryside things were no different. Impracticable road networks and the more than 228 l/m² that fell during the morning sent shivers down the spines of farmers who have not yet been able to access their farms to assess the damage. This is the case of Carles Roig. "This has been very bad. Although it is still too early to tell, the damage will be very serious", he says. Recalling the 2018 waterspouts, Roig has affirmed: "The rain of this Wednesday cannot compare. It has fallen with much more intensity", and added: "I had never seen what happened today".

However, not everyone experienced the downpour in the same way. Robert Garcia lives 100 metres from Trafalgar Street. He works from home and has seen how the water began to fall since 11 in the morning. With intermittent power and internet cuts he spent the day hooked to his mobile phone watching what was happening just a few meters away from where he lives. Robert Garcia has lived the waterspout restlessly: "We couldn't go out into the street. We got the videos and the news in dribs and drabs. And all the time we heard the sound of the helicopter. What shocked me the most was to see how the sea turned brown", he says.

Amid the chaos and anguish and with fear in their bodies, the residents of Les Cases d'Alcanar have seen how the water entered their homes, businesses and restaurants. The waterspout has left no sand on the beaches and has swallowed cars, chairs and tables. Many residents recalled that 2018 when 230 l/m² fell in a couple of hours. They also recalled that they have still not received any of the promised aid, which has been withheld by the Generalitat.

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