First came Hurricane Eta. Then, Hurricane Iota, unleashing rains of biblical proportions on the hillside community of La Reina.
As Iota hammered La Reina for four days, residents kept watch on the mountain above their 300 homes for signs that they should flee. Some left quickly when the downpour ceased. Ivan Varela resisted, hoping to protect the seven houses he and his brothers had built over the years with money they earned in the United States.
On the last night, as his parents prayed, Varela shot his pistol into the air to scare off thieves stalking the properties of those who already had evacuated. But soon he realized the battle was lost. Water was gushing out of the ground and the earth was starting to tremble. He called his brother in Florida.
“The town is going to disappear. We are losing everything,” Varela said.
“The important thing is that you survive,” his brother…