I don’t think I have ever come across a more pragmatic pair than Graham and Carol, one of the couples who lost their home, and all of their possessions, in the devastating house collapse ten days ago on the Orihuela Costa.
Sitting and chatting with them in a Torrevieja hotel on Thursday evening, I was absolutely amazed that, after everything they have gone through, they could still be so optimistic, as they looked ahead to the future and to the rest of their lives in Spain.
“We were extremely fortunate to get out of our apartment unscathed”, said Graham, “so what have we not got to feel thankful for. We have our health and the promise of a new home, albeit some way down the line, and although the next few months might take us along a bumpy road, at least it is leading somewhere.”
The couple were particularly complimentary about the Emergency Services and the Orihuela Councillor for Foreign Residents, Sofia Alvarez, who they both described as ‘amazing.’ “The Police, Bomberas, Ambulance and Civil Protection, were all on the scene very quickly and Sofia couldn’t do enough for us from the moment she arrived. She too was quickly on hand and she is now constantly updating us about the ongoing situation. I know if we have a problem in need of addressing we can call her and it will be resolved.”
Indeed as he recalled that tragic Wednesday morning ten days ago Graham even had a chuckle. “I was making our morning cuppa as the events began to unfold,” he said. “As the cracks began to appear and the floor began to lift in the lounge I realised something was wrong, so I rushed into the bedroom to wake up Carol.
But she was going nowhere until she had dressed, combed her hair and put on her ‘lippy’. She was far cooler than I. All I could think of was getting out as I heard the rumblings from next door.”
Unfortunately, apart from grabbing his wallet and car keys, Graham and Carol had to evacuate the house with only the clothes they stood up in, which, in Graham’s case, didn’t even include a pair of shoes. “But people were absolutely marvellous. They couldn’t do enough to help. We’ve have offers of accommodation, food, clothing, just about everything, but we were found the hotel in Torrevieja, the cost of which is covered by the Community Insurance, so our immediate needs were quickly dealt with.”
The couple added that they have still not been able to gain access to their abandoned property to collect personal effects and clothing but they hope that might change in the coming days. “Our entire lives are in there, passports and other documentation, clothing, personal effects and so forth. Until we know what we can retrieve we can’t really make plans for the future.”
For the moment though, Graham is hopeful that they will have a short term rental property in the next day or two. “Beyond that I’m not too sure,” he added. “We have to wait for the official report that is currently being prepared by the local authorities. Only then will we be able to plan for our future, and I don’t yet know when that will be.”
“For the moment though, I think it is probably best to say that we are biding our time. We both intend to be around for a long time to come so in planning for the future we need to get it right. As a result of that, and until we know the way ahead, we are only prepared to take one step at a time.