Peru: Flooding of Toll Road Via Parque Rimac

Via Parque Rimac [Rimac Park Route], a traffic-management development project, has by some way or another become another example of Susana Villarán (not Lady Vaga (Lady Vague) [es], as mocked by her opposers), Lima's Mayoress, suddenly transforming a project into everything of which it is not: yet another example of mismanagement of image and communication between the current council management. Just as with the lack of a rapid and adequate response in the time of crisis, this new crisis is bringing her dangerously close to losing the revocation process [es] that will take place on March 17th of this year, 2013.

After Christmas, water was seen beginning to filter through the defence walls of the river, the result of an increased volume of flow [es] of the Rimac River, which comes from the Peruvian Andes, and normally maintains a very low level throughout the majority of the year, except during the rainy season in the Sierra [mountain range] which corresponds with summer by the coast. In regards to the matter, the manager of Constructora OAS, the Brazilian contractor in charge of the works, reiterated [es] that this filtration “was foreseen from the start of the project” and that “we continue working as usual with the highest level of security”.

View from Via Parque Rimac. Photo used with authorisation of photographer.

Still, by the 27th, the filtering water had created a flood of huge proportions in the site where the work was being carried out. It even reached the point where a construction company truck finished semi-submerged [es] in the stagnant waters, which formed a growing lake, despite the water being pumped out. This caused the works to be suspended [es], and for a contractor representative to make a statement again stating [es] that “there will be no impact on the project, it was already foreseen that there would be no work carried out between January and March. This has no impact on the quality everything was planned for”. Concerning the floods, the Mayoress declared [es] that it was “a drainage matter that was completely planned for at this stage in the project, considering the time of year”.

However, on Friday 28th at 3am, facing increased pressure the river walls gave way [es], allowing the water to resume its normal flow but flooding the works carried out so far. Once again the contractor's representative affirmed [es] that the incident had been expected and accounted for in their contingency plan, though he also recognised [es] that the breaking of the provisional channel walls was not expected. In other areas of the work filtration problems [es] have been noted while it is feared [es] that the water will penetrate the adjoining Vía de Evitamiento [Avoidance Route], which was ruled out [es] by the local authorities.

Although representatives from Lima Town Council came forward to declare [es] that the company in charge of the project would accept responsibility of all the damage registered, the Public Prosecutors Office declared itself neutral [es] on the matter, saying that it is investigating the details contributing to the collapse of the wall. Also, it was learned [es] that the Committee of the Investigation of Congress would arrange for the Mayoress to give an explanation for the work's mishaps.

View of Via Parque Rimac. Photo used with authorisation of Photographer.

Despite the fact that throughout the day both the Town Council and the contractor repeated that everything was foreseen and under control, a local television station disclosed images showing the opposite, such as this video [es] where different construction materials can be seen abandoned in a small island of the river while others were carried away by the current. The Environment Minister declared [es] that the application for the contingency plan was not only slow in being carried out but was unrealistic. Afterwards, the Mayoress blamed [es] the contractor for what happened whilst other officials spoke [es] of a “shared responsibility”.

Although some media outlets have reported [es] about the number of memes created in the social networks following the events, these have not only appeared on the internet in Peru. In the blog Agenda.926 by Jorge Rodríguez, besides making a post titled The Via Parque Rimac for Dummies [es], they also published parts of the concession contract concerning the insurance amongst other things, where they declare:

Vale mencionar que hubo un pésimo manejo político por parte de la municipalidad sobre este hecho, así como la planificación deficiente por parte de la empresa que definió “provisional” como “desechable”. Como ciudadanos estamos en nuestro derecho de exigir un buen trabajo por parte del Gobierno, en este caso la Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima, y las empresas a las que otorga concesiones.

It's worth mentioning that there has been terrible political management on behalf of the Town Council surrounding this event, and poor planning on the part of the company that defined “provisional” as “disposable”. As citizens, we are entitled to demand good work on the governments behalf and in the case of the Metropolitan Town Council of Lima and the other companies that are given concessions.

The Fucking Times printed various comments by Jorge Villena, councillor to the Municipality of Lima, who said [es] he felt misled:

ayer- el caudal del río llegó a 55 metros cúbicos por segundo, “ni siquiera la mitad del máximo establecido por la empresa que era 120 metros cúbicos por segundos”. “Que no nos vengan a decir que inundar el patio de operaciones, ahogar una camioneta y una serie de instrumentos y maquinaria de la misma empresa estaba fríamente calculado. Eso es un insulto a la inteligencia de la opinión”, finalizó.

Yesterday- the river flow reached 55 cubic metres per second, “it wasn't even half of the maximum established by the company which was 120 cubic meters per second”. “The fact they didn't tell us that the operations yard was flooded, as well as a van and a collection of tools and machinery from the same company, was coldly calculated. It's an insult to the public's intelligence”, he ended with.

In CuentaM, Jarinson Castro published [es] what many have said on Twitter:

Creo que despues de esto, Susana Villaran esta mas cerca a la Revocatoria.

I think that after all of this, Susana Villaran is closer to revocation.

Facebook user, Jym Qhapaq Amaru complained [es] about the lack of self-criticism by supporters of Lima's government:

PÉSIMA, Pésima consigna política de la alcaldía de Lima y sus aliados de izquierda, […] no aceptan que lo que ha pasado es GRAVISIMO, se ha perdido totalmente la confianza en esta obra, […] aquí tiene que haber responsabilidad política, y no tildar a todos los criticos de estar “a favor de la revocatoria” “pagados de Castañeda” CARAJO, soy simpatizante de Villarán desde que postuló a la presidencia, apoyé activamente su campaña a la alcaldía y me da lástima, la pésima asesoría política que tiene, su gestión se esta cayendo abajo por un mal manejo político de las circunstancias, y después de este desastre ahora dicen estuvo “previsto” POR DIOS, la ciudadanía no es IDIOTA, tienen que reconocer sus errores, tienen que hacer un mea culpa, aceptar responsabilidades y exigir la renuncia de los incompetentes, de lo contrario, doy por hecho que Susana Villarán va a ser revocada, no porque sea mala alcaldesa, sino por que son demasiados errores cometidos por su equipo, inexperiencia politica, ingenuidad, y actitud equivocada…

DREADFUL, dreadful political slogan of Lima Town Council and its leftist allies, […] they don't accept that what has happened is really SERIOUS, all confidence has been lost in this work, […] there has to be political responsibility, and not to brand all critics of being “in favour of the revocation” “paid by [former alcalde Luis] Castañeda” GODAMNIT, I have sympathised with Villarán since she ran for president, I actively supported her political campaign and I feel sorry for the appalling political counsel that she has, its management is falling down under political mismanagement of the circumstances, and after this disaster they now say that everything was “foreseen” FOR GOD'S SAKE, the people aren't IDIOTS, they have to recognise the government's errors and realise it is their fault, they must accept responsibility and demand the resignation of the incompetent, otherwise, I assume that Susana Villarán is going to be revoked, not because she is a bad Mayoress, but because her team have made too many mistakes due to their political inexperience, naivety, and the wrong attitude…

Also in Facebook, a page from the blog GranComboClub commented:

Es inocultable que hay problemas con esta obra. Y mucha falta de previsión. No puede ser que se produzca este desborde justo justo a espaldas de Palacio de Gobierno. Esa es la zona del río donde los técno-políticos de la MML tendrían que ser más cuidadosos y evitar espectáculos tan lamentables como sus explicaciones tipo “todo estaba previsto”. Al repetir ese argumento quedan muy mal, como gente acrítica y aborregada, cuando precisamente van de inteligentes y técnicos. […] No puede ser que a la improvisación se le sume la terquedad. Si siguen por ese camino, van de salida. Están en un circulo vicioso: la presión revocadora los atolondra y los hace ser más improvisados y más tercos, con lo cual agravan sus desaciertos y alimentan la presión revocadora.
It is undeniable that there are problems with this work and a huge lack of foresight. We cannot have this overflowing just, JUST in front of the Government House. This is the part of the river where the techno-MML politicians would need to be more careful and avoid such regrettable events and explanations such as “everything was foreseen”. The more this argument is repeated the worse they appear; lacking in critical skills and appearing sheepish, when they go by precisely the opposite: intelligent and technical. […] It can't be that in addition to being unprepared they add obstinacy to the list. If they continue like this, they'll be out. They are in a vicious circle: the pressure of revocation bewilders them and makes them improvise which further makes them more stubborn, thereby worsening their mistakes and feeding the increasing pressure of revocation.

As it stands, the situation is under control [es], and although the work has not suffered [es] any significant damage, there are definite things [es] that need to be reconsidered. Nevertheless, it will have to wait until April 2013, when the water levels lower, to see the state in which the construction has been left up until now; work that is currently below the level of the Rimac river.

Post published originally in the blog Globalizado [Globalised].

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