Heaven Sent, Costas Taken

ECO Rabita TodayOn the 16th of this month, Costas intends to bulldoze 25 hectares of plastic greenhouses between La Rábita and El Pozuelo – and it’s been a long time coming.

On October the 18th, 1973, unbelievably heavy rains pushed 2,580 cubic metres per second down the riverbed. It not only affected 101 dwellings, totally destroying 74 in La Rábita, but it also created a new delta of land at the river mouth. The town buried its dead (over 50) and slowly got back onto its feet so that by the beginning of the 80’s the new delta was disappearing under greenhouses.

And there they have remained for the last 40 years, until now because Costas wants to clear the delta completely. The irony is that the greenhouses have been in existence longer that the Costas Department has.

Young men in their 20’s in 1973 broke their backs turning a desolate expanse of mud and stones into prosperous, agricultural ventures and now, in their 60s, they are to witness all that they have achieved being erased.

ECO Rabita Flood AftermathUntil 1973, they had worked for pitiful wages on the land of the rich landowners as labourers and then, suddenly, there was new land, belonging to nobody, waiting to be tilled and toiled, so they moved in and dedicated a lifetime to turning it into fertile agricultural plots.

Thanks to a court decision handed down from the Regional Supreme Court of Andalucia, the pending demolition ordered by the Delegación de Costas was put on hold. The court decided this until the farmers’ appeal had been resolved. Now it has been and they lost, so the bulldozers will move in within a week.

But the 120 affected families still haven’t given up because they will be protesting in Granada on Friday the 13th. They’re also beseeching the Regional Ombudsman to intervene in their favour.

Editorial comment: I remember travelling in 1982 by bus to Barcelona along the N-340. I recall the moment when the bus drove down off the road and along a wide track because the road had been washed away less than nine years before and still hadn’t been completely rebuilt.

There had been a bridge over the rambla, which was washed away. Even today, you still have to drive down into the riverbed and up the other side in La Rabita, because nobody wants a bridge there; it was the old bridge that had temporarily kept the flood waters back, building it up, only to break through and double the destruction to the village.

(News: La Rabita, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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