29/11/2012 - Ana Ford de Yerena is still in shock after watching her home and most of her belongings in Nuevo Arco Iris, Colón, get destroyed by floodwaters last week.
"I have not been able to overcome that moment," Ford de Yerena said. "That day was horrible because I saw the houses start sliding. It was something that I would not like any other Panamanian to go through."
Ford de Yena said that she left for work with her house intact, but when she came back it was all gone, as well as the homes of many of her neighbors.
"There was silence, shock...It was something so big, so painful and so sad," she said.
Authorities say the problems were caused by water that was running underneath the development, which caused the collapse. Pablo Tuñón, of the Panama Fire Department, said that an undergound stream was the main cause of the problems.
But residents and civic leaders say the government should have done more to prevent the tragedy. Felipe Cabeza, coordinator of the Frente Amplio por Colón, said that the government accepted the project without carrying out the proper inspections.
For Leisvin Antonio Castro, the events of the recent months have been especially tragic. In October, his wife was shot and killed during the riots that were caused by the law that allowed the sale of lands within the Colón Free Zone. Now, in the recent floods, he lost all of his belongings.
He compared the events in Colón as being similar to what the country went through during the 1989 invasion. He said the police committed many abuses during the riots, and the officers from the border patrol agency Senafront "treated us like guerrillas."
The dual tragedies of the flooding and the riots have been tough on the community. Now, the rebuilding efforts have slowly started to begin.
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