Experiencias Cercanas a la Muerte - Vargas Tragedy
Nineteen years ago here in Venezuela to be more precise on December 15, 1999, there is the great tragedy of Vargas, also known as the Vargas disaster, the landslides and floods that occurred on this Caribbean coast of my country.
Vargas went through the worst natural disaster that day, with figures of deceased people, even without official status, but it is estimated that they were hundreds or thousands and the number of victims also officially confirmed the number of tens of thousands. Among them are my family and me.
It all began with heavy rains for a young woman like me at that time, nothing to worry about, on December 5 I heard my parents talking very worried, the first alert was declared in the state of Vargas by the Regional Civil Defense agency, after 5 days of rain have fallen in the area, at least 200 houses have already been destroyed. Our house was located in the Los Corales urbanization, which was the community that received the strongest blow.
I saw everyone at home crying out to God that everything would calm down. But in the news they report that the Ministry of the Environment issues an alert while the precipitations were alarming, for the moment there were at least a thousand victims in the entity. The first major landslides begin to take place.
On December 13, I clearly remember that I heard about the heavy rains that were sweeping the coast north of Venezuela. It was estimated that rainfall had already fallen more than 5 times, than what normally falls in the first 2 weeks of the last month of the year. An additional 48 hours of rainfall had been forecast.
Trees, cars and buses were dragged by the water directly to the buildings of the area, while the houses were covered by the current, being completely covered with mud.
While the rest of the Venezuelans were preparing to vote in the referendum for the approval of a new Constitution, on December 14 that would take place the next day, the precipitations in the central coast continued, the firemen of the region considered decreeing the state alarm in the area.
I remember very well the words of the deceased president at that time who on the news gave a press conference about the elections that would be held the following day (if nature opposes we will fight against it to obey us), we must never fight against nature .
On December 15, a day of never forgetting extensive mudslides and landslides, immense and violent floods of water that begin to pluck large amounts of water and huge rocks.
I saw my parents worried, we all went out looking for help among neighbors, I saw how the water destroyed cars, houses and everything that was on the road, we ran as much as we could with only the clothes that we loaded, we all cried and I remember my parents asking God as we ran to have mercy on all of us.
We moved away as much as we could from the most affected area, the rains continued and the landslides had already left villages destroyed. I did not understand anything at that time I just cried when seeing all those people suffer. They were days and nights of very cold, hunger and above all fear.
I remember all the access roads blocked by the landslide and began the aid by air, children and the elderly are the first to be rescued, my parents had to stay and sent me on a rescue plane accompanied with my sister and many children of which most did not find their parents.
The rescue and the help were made belatedly I remember that my sister and I in the shelter where they had us did not know anything about our parents and we just cried thinking that they had not been rescued and had died like other people.
Neighbors, friends, and many children died, they never found them, the rubble was low, the despair of the people was surprising something impossible to explain.
Six days after we were separated from our parents they managed to locate us through a list and they were transferred to the place where we were.
That day I felt that I was born again I give thanks to God for the miracle of life, since many people were not lucky enough to come out alive from that amazing disaster which I remember today with tears in my eyes, although still very small I have the memory of everything that happened, sometimes I feel nightmares, were days and nights of pain and sadness. But always giving thanks to my God for this new opportunity of life.
With the passing of the months we were given the opportunity to choose whether to stay in a shelter or be moved to another, safer area. Feeling death so close to us, my parents decided that it would be better to rebuild our lives being relocated in a house in Puerto La Cruz - Anzoátegui State - Venezuela where we currently live and little by little we were building our lives, we were in therapies with psychologists but What most comforted our lives was attending a Christian church called Vision International Ministry to the world MIVAM, thanks to the mercy of God, we started our new life resuming the studies but with an intact memory in our minds. God gave us a new opportunity for life and in his presence He gets the comfort we need.
Currently, Vargas state continues its recovery of what was the worst natural tragedy in Venezuela. Where millions of people died and many were on the verge of death, for me still remains the pain intact of those survivors who lost more than a house, a family, a friend a neighbor and for a moment we lost the will to live.
I recently toured the streets of my urbanization in Vargas with my family where I lived part of my childhood and I thanked my heavenly father for all the things that I lived in that place, good and bad experiences.