"Neighbors were carrying out their stoves and other stuff in their backs.”
On January 30, a landslide took place in Tijuana. This time, the working-class neighborhood 3 de Octubre, 18 miles southeast of downtown TJ, was affected. Marta Cardenas and her family built up their home here 30 years ago. As she explained, she worked with her own hands on this life project.
Her property and 40 others sank down nine feet into the ground, ripping down houses, trapping cars, and leaving 50 families out of their homes. 23 more houses still stand but aren’t safe for their owners to live in, according to the Municipal Civil Protection Department.
Marta said that the ground started cracking at six a.m. that Saturday; from that moment the neighbors had a couple of hours to take their belongings out of their homes while they were falling down.
“At noon everything sank down, but we were able to take the car out of the property at the last minute. Neighbors were carrying out their stoves and other stuff on their backs. If I were younger, I would be able to start up again and build another house, but how can I do it now?”
She said her daughter realized the street pavement was cracking up, but she never took her seriously; her daughter and other neighbors called to report that and the leaking of clean water that was coming out of the ground.
This area has been categorized as a risky zone since 2019.
“That water filtering from a Tijuana State Public Services Commission pipe was reported last year. And because all the land got soaked the pavement began broking down in pieces,” she added.
Jorge Delgado is another affected resident who agreed to Marta’s daughter's statement, “For me, the public services has a lot of responsibility here. They never fixed that leaking well. My house is still up but has cracks everywhere. Now I need to save what I can, but for now, I’m homeless. My brother offered me a place to stay with my wife but it’s just temporary,” the 52-year-old man said.
According to the Civil Protection director, Marco Antonio Sanchez, this area has been categorized as a risky zone since 2019, but the first settlements in this neighborhood date from the early 90s. He added that this event was mainly caused by the heavy rains last week.
The public services commission has stated that they will lead an investigation to clarify their responsibilities. For now, the affected home dwellers are being sheltered with relatives or neighbors, but the locals uncertain if the municipal government will re-locate these families or since the settlement was illegal, they will just limit their involvement by giving groceries, blankets, and medicines.