Things we lost in the flood
So, my house, or should I say my former house, is now pretty famous. It's been on the six o'clock and the nine o'clock news and is stealthily making its way across the interweb. Yes, my home was the one at the end of the flooded road in Kilmainham and with the floating cars in front of it. It was a beautiful little house on an idyllic road with an amazing garden with, funnily enough, a river running through it. Literally every day I looked out my window and couldn't believe my luck. That was of course until about half four on Monday evening, when the river decimated the house and everything in it.
The series of events transpired like something out of an action film. Well, when I say action film I mean one of those really boring ones where the main protagonists spend an hour and a half on the phone attempting to get through to the various emergency services. That was followed by gross incompetence and negligence on the part of every single institution supposed to protect the citizens of this country. After being fobbed off by the Civil Defence, I was passed over to the police who told me to contact the Fire Brigade. We actually managed to get them into our house, were told that they couldn't help us and left recommending that we barricaded the doors with sheets and towels and contact the Council!
And this is where it gets really exciting; I then spent the following 45 minutes on hold with the Council with one hand while putting our belongings up to a 'safe' height with the other. Fatal mistake, or thankfully; near fatal mistake. So as I saved, to be honest my clothes, I worked my way up from eight in line to number one on hold. Sadly while I was still at number one the wall at the side of my house broke and myself and my boyfriend had to climb another wall to safety with literally the clothes on our back and with no shoes or socks on his feet. Thankfully we got off that wall before it soon gave way and made it up to the top of the road to warn our neighbours. As we finally left our road and our neighbours we saw the water consume the house and the car and rapidly make its way towards us.
Last night I went to bed in another house filled with grief and regret. The idea that we wasted all that valuable time trying to contact those we naively thought would help us instead of getting at least some things into the car and driving it to safety absolutely sickens me to my stomach. The fact that instead of telling us to evacuate the house we were told to use a few towels to block the doors and call for sandbags is negligence in the extreme. Within minutes of that advice our house was filled with a deluge of water that swept half the house away and would have taken us with it. No one cared, no one bothered to help us. It's devastating to think of that off-duty Garda giving his life when so many of his colleagues in the emergency services did nothing.
I went back to my beloved street today to find nothing but wreckage, destruction and despair. All my neighbours did the same thing as we did, we all relied on those we trusted to help us and left it too late to save anything at all before our houses were submerged. All we needed was an advanced warning telling us the situation or that the river had broken its bank further up the river and we all would have evacuated immediately. Many of my neighbours stayed with an elderly, housebound man, helplessly watching the destruction of everything they own. Thankfully everyone, including that man, got out in the end but for many of us it was the very end. At many times today I have been caught between laughter and tears. When I think about the fact we have lost nearly everything we own, every single book we own, our beautiful house with its idyllic garden, I am distraught. Yet, when I see the absolute and devastating destruction of our house and how close we were to getting caught in it I find it hard to wipe the smile from my face.