Yesterday it rained here in Antofagasta. It’s considered to be one of the driest places on Earth. It never rains, well hardly ever. It started raining on Tuesday at school. It was the beginning of lunch and there was a little drizzle, just enough to wet the ground. You cannot imagine the shrieks, the hands out of hands to touch, or the excitement in the air. My students rarely see rain. One turned to me and said “Ms. J, we are excited because it hardly rains here. Last year, it rained one time.”
Last year, it rained one time.
You can’t imagine what it’s like to live somewhere that is unprepared for rain. There was flash flooding, the electricity went out, schools and businesses were closed. In the north of the city, in Copiapo, there was so much flooding that there are now 24 people missing and 2 dead. There are people who had to evacuate their homes. This was all due to rain, what looked like a little rain, a lot of drizzle actually.
Today there is no school. The region of Antofagasta has been declared in a state of emergency. There could be mudslides and the city has to figure out what to do with the all the water. The Westerners who have just arrived here, me included, chuckle and shake our heads at how crazy it all seems. We sat on our balconies, drank beer, talked and laughed.
I am fine. But I wonder, a little rain, and 24 people are missing. 2 are dead.