Saturday, September 14, 2013

Earthquakes, Wildfires and Police Corruption in Cordoba

On Wednesday, September 11th, the people of Cordoba were shaken (LITERALLY!) by a 4.7 earthquake. The tremor originated in the sierra region (mountainous areas) and was felt throughout most of the province. Fortunately there wasn’t any serious damage and no serious injuries were reported. I live by the city area of the province (known as Cordoba Capital). Around here, we assumed it was a huge truck passing by our house. The windows shook a bit and so did the furniture but that was the end of it. Nothing in our home fell and the structural integrity of our home didn’t seem compromised.

Earthquakes are not common in the province of Cordoba so a lot of my friends who are native of the province were startled by the quake. This event made me recall a quake we experienced in New York in 2011. I remember everyone was really shaken up as well because Manhattan doesn’t get earthquakes. Unfortunately, this isn’t the worse ecological issue that Cordoba has had to deal with recently.
A week ago, a forest fire ignited in the sierra region. The unusually warm weather (we hit 100+ Fahrenheit earlier in the week) and dry conditions allowed the fire to spread. Firefighters initially had a difficult time getting into the forest. In the meantime, those that could get through did their best to put out the flames with buckets of water, but their efforts proved useless.
Eventually firefighters managed to get their fire trucks to the source of the fire. Planes have also been used to try and contain the fire.
 Unfortunately, the fire has claimed the lives of wildlife in the area.  
When the fire first broke out, strong winds dispersed the ashes throughout the province, polluting the air. People with respiratory problems had a tough time breathing. Motorcyclists and pedestrians were blinded by flying ash as well. The news reports have suggested that the ash may contaminate the water supply in the province for up to two months.
These two disasters come on the eve of a major drug scandal in one of Cordoba’s police departments. I heard some Cordobeses say that September 11th seems to be a jinxed date, like Friday the 13th. Of course, September 11th is a day that affects my spouse and I in a very personal way. It forces us to recall one of the worst days in U.S. history, the 9/11 attacks. Americans survived that tragedy and became stronger and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 15 months is that Argentinians are survivors too. This rough patch of ecological disasters and police corruption will pass.

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