“When I woke up, the fridge was floating downstairs,” says Christophe Hausbaum, a forestry engineer who lives in Hollywood, Nosara. His community was one of the most affected by October’s floods and by Nate in 2017.
In this coastal town, the situation of neighborhoods like Hollywood, Santa Marta and the families that live near the airport seems to be frozen in time ever since the storm last year.
The levee built on the Nosara River in 2014 and 2015, which was designed to hold back growing water levels from previous rainy seasons, collapsed last year. The National Emergency Commission (CNE), Nicoya City Hall, the Nosara Integral Development Association have all been aware of this since 2017, but no one has solved the problem.
The majority of them agree that the levee needs a comprehensive intervention involving CNE and the National Irrigation, Drainage and Groundwater Service (Senara). That’s not an easy task.
Why are they going to waste money doing something small if it’s already destroyed,” said a resigned Hausbam, who was president of the community water association from the second floor of his home. Next to him are the electrical appliances that survived.
City engineer Josué Ruiz said that Senara has the preliminary plans for reconstruction and an emergency decree has already been issued for repairs, but they still aren’t sure where the ¢900 million ($1.5m) needed for the job will come from.
This newspaper tried to obtain the official position of CNR of regional director Ricardo Salazar and his press team, Rebecca Madrigal, but neither of them responded by the time we went to print.
Repairing the levee requires dredging and rebuilding at least 400 meters so it’s high enough to protect Santa Marta, among others.
But this won’t be a definitive solution for the residents of Hollywood, who live in constant threat of flooding. ADIN is working on a project to relocate around 40 families living in this neighborhood.
Once they are moved, they plan to declare it a green zone or public space so the city doesn’t approve any more construction permits in the area.
“We are surveying a plot of land, a property near the bullring, which is very safe, of about six hectares (15 acres),” said ADIN president and Nosara representative Marcos Ávila.