Sunday, 22 July 2007

As the rain falls and flood waters rise across the country I remembered my own experience of flooding in January 1986 as we became refugees when our home was uninhabitable for six weeks while walls and floors slowly dried out.


We have been in this refugee camp for a month now. It is a terrible place, mud ankle deep, full of the sound of crying children, no one has enough to eat and there is only one stand pipe for every hundred families. They have come from all over. Some have primitive tents; some have dug themselves tunnels into the banks around the camp. We’ve tried to dig latrines but many just squat and relieve themselves where they are and the stench is appalling. At least we are alive and we can dream and work for a better future once we have found the others.

It wasn’t always like this. We used to live in a fine city with wide clean streets. It was a well ordered society where each one of us had a purpose, everyone had enough to eat, everyone was employed. Central Control saw to everything and we were happy. Life was good and we were confident that it always would be, until the day of the earthquake. The maternity unit was at the top of the city near the warmth of the sun and felt the first tremor. Suddenly the walls fell in and the floor cracked. Midwives were running everywhere carrying newborns to safety. The top section of our citadel was destroyed but Central Control took charge and we rebuilt deeper into the earth. I and some of my term mates had just been trained to fly so when the order came to scramble a squadron we were detailed off to join the unit. We were above ground when the hot rain came. Steam and scalding water from on high destroyed all we had known. There was a great silence and then we heard a voice like thunder high above us

‘I’ve always hated ants. One more kettle of water should put paid to this lot.’

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