People walk near a damaged house and fallen electricity poles after the passing of Storm Iota, in Providencia, Colombia November 17, 2020. Picture taken November 17, 2020. Efrain Herrera / Colombia Presidency / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. DO NOT RESALS. NO FILES.
The voices of the survivors and victims of hurricane Iota humanize the difficult situation that the archipelago is currently experiencing. One of the known testimonies in the midst of despair is that of Luis Fernando Vélez, a native of Barranquilla, who managed to protect himself from the inclement rain and dangerous winds and today is alive to tell the tale.
The testimony of this Barranquilla was known by the radio station La FM, where Vélez said that he arrived on the island to resolve some work issues. However, when the storm reached the place, Luis Fernando ran to take refuge in a bathroom in the house where he was waiting for his stay.
A Colombian flag is seen next to recovered personal items after the passing of Storm Iota, in Providencia, Colombia November 18, 2020. Efrain Herrera / Colombia Presidency / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. DO NOT RESALS. NO FILES.
Luis Fernando said, still frightened by the situation, that none of the island’s inhabitants expected a similar situation or “no one had foreseen it, not even the inhabitants themselves,” said Vélez, who added that on the morning of the events the wind was haunting Strength and the place where he stayed suffered serious repercussions. “The entire second floor of the house where we were was blown up, we heard that everything was hitting the walls, it was something horrible”He recalled.
“The inn where I was staying was destroyed, I looked around and there was nothing, the violence that we felt, that we saw made us realize that the hurricane had passed in a category greater than four “said the tourist in dialogue with the newspaper El Tiempo.
The bathroom allowed him to live
When the station’s journalists asked Vélez how he managed to survive, he assured that the bathroom where he was staying allowed him to be telling the story today. The Barranquillero assured that “I felt too strong winds”. In addition, he recalled one of the events that scared him the most: “the hurricane began to take on an impressive force, one was locked up and we could not measure what was happening outside,” he said.
Damaged houses are seen after the passing of Storm Iota, in Providencia, Colombia November 17, 2020. Picture taken November 17, 2020. Efrain Herrera / Colombia Presidency / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. DO NOT RESALS. NO FILES
He says that early last Monday of the holiday, when the storm had already stopped its destruction, he was able to go out with the other inhabitants of the house he was in and saw a sad and discouraging panorama because “There was nothing, where we were there was nothing. The whole island was destroyed ”, said Luis Fernando, who recalled distressing moments of the following Tuesday when the winds again attacked the San Andres residents.
“At around 11 am we left and decided to go to the police station, trying to seek help, but we were surprised that there was nothing, no hospital, no fire station,” the survivor told the radio station.
Eager to return to their homeland, Vélez and other tourists made their way to El Embrujo airport. However, Luis Fernando says that he never imagined that the devastation would be of such magnitude. In addition, he says that fortunately the presidential plane arrived and “at one in the afternoon we were the first group of people to leave the island,” said the interviewee.
Luis Fernando ended his story by recalling the difficult situation that Providencia is currently facing and says that he is fortunately safe but that “the situation in Providencia is unfortunate, no one has a home, everyone is suffering.” In addition, he urged Colombians to help their compatriots because “With the help of all of us these people will be able to get ahead.”