the night of
November 5, 1997 an explosive cyclogenesis left 119.1 liters of rain per square meter in Badajoz, 169% more than the previous rainfall record. The flow of the Rivillas and Calamón streams was at triple its capacity, four meters above its limit. The flood hit hard, leaving 22 dead in the capital of Badajoz and three in Valverde de Leganés.
The water rose so fast and with such force that most of the victims died trapped inside their houses. Many of the survivors saved their lives by climbing onto their rooftops and waiting for lifeboats to rescue them. That image, the rescues on the roofs, was captured after the tragedy. It was turned into a statue in tribute to the victims and the 1,200 families who lost their homes. Soon that symbol will change location.
The Tribute to the Victims of the 1997 Flood will be moved from the Trinidad Park to the crossing of the Rivillas and Calamón streams. In 2001, when it was inaugurated, it was decided to install the statue in the Baluarte de la Trinidad, the entrance to the Ronda del Pilar, a central and visible area. However, for years the residents of Cerro de Reyes have claimed that it was in their neighborhood that was the most affected by the flood.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the flood, residents in the area have created a project called ‘
Get a PCR‘ (Promotion of the Cerro de Reyes). His intention is to remember the tragedy, but also to claim a positive view of his neighborhood. One of his first achievements has been to obtain the municipal commitment to transfer the tribute to his neighborhood. The neighbors have also obtained the support of the Rotary Club, which has a lot to say about it, since it paid for the statue.
The transfer of the statue
The councilor responsible for Heritage, Jaime Mejías, has confirmed that the City Council already has a budget of 12,600 euros to carry out the transfer. It will be awarded directly and the goal is for it to be completed in September this year, coinciding with the Cerro de Reyes festivities. In any case, the move will take place before the 25th anniversary, which will be in November. The neighbors are also waiting to get European funds to recover the area.
The statue will move before September and the City Council has reserved 12,600 euros for it
The proposed location is the confluence of the Rivillas and Calamón streams, which became a park a few years ago. It was the area where there were more victims.
A year after the tragedy there was already talk of creating a tribute to the victims, but it was not until 2001 when it became a reality. The work is by the sculptor Rodrigo Espada who gave his work altruistically. The Rotary Club paid for the material and the foundry.
The tribute statue shows a woman sitting on the edge of a roof pulling a girl from the water while a man standing in front of her offers his help. Some exposed brick walls attached to the plinth symbolize one of the many houses that were destroyed that night, according to the sculptor himself. The sculptural ensemble is molded and cast in bronze.
One of the objectives of the transfer is to give greater visibility to the statue. Although it is central, as it is integrated into the park, it is less visible. The idea is that it occupies a prominent place at the crossing of both streams, which currently have a high influx of people thanks to the parks that were built in the area after the flood.
In 2017, a new plaque was added to the base to commemorate 20 years of the tragedy. Many residents of Cerro de Reyes attended, two children from the neighborhood placed a center of yellow and white roses in front and a string quartet accompanied the tribute with their music.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.