A well written piece by Julio M. Ramón from Xabia al Dia.
In 1885 Spain suffered the last great cholera epidemic in its history. From then on there would only be some isolated, local and easily controllable outbreak. But the epidemic that struck the nation that year resulted in 121,000 deaths, in a country of just over 17 million.
Our area, the Spanish Levante, was one of the most affected. The epidemic began in Alicante at the port of which an infected ship had arrived, from Marseille, in the autumn of 1884. From Alicante it spread to the entire region and to the rest of Spain. Of the most affected provinces, perhaps the most was Valencia, where there were 21,613 deaths from cholera. But in the capital it was even tougher, with 4,919 deaths in just 91 days. There were days of almost 300 deaths. Rethink these figures with today’s eyes!
Did our great-grandparents draw consequences? In general, yes. The cities began to give the importance of municipal cleaning and disinfection services, the Municipal Laboratories were created in the big cities, the largest and cleanest Municipal Markets were established, the cemeteries were removed from the interior of the towns, cesspools were prohibited and at least public drinking water sources were installed in all the neighborhoods. The urban sewerage system was designed and drains with a siphons appeared, the Ensanches began or were expanded, some legislation on rents began that prevented the saturation of people in a single dwelling or room, etc.
Will we come out of this terrible pandemic that is ravaging us in 2020 with something learned? You have to think yes. I want to think yes. I dare to propose, in the meantime that we have to rethink, a couple of things, one at the national level, another at the local level.
At the NATIONAL level, it is necessary to reconsider if what people do in their jobs is really paid as it deserves. Let’s think in these moments of confinement and anguish, who is bearing the weight of the crisis and taking the country forward? The workers, with the support of their employers, but the workers. Restrooms, cleaners, security and protection personnel, logistics personnel and establishments of basic and essential products, delivery people …
When we go out to our terraces at 8 pm to applaud all of them, those who are making it possible for our confinement to be more humane, do we really stop to think if these people are, on a daily basis, well treated? When the white tides came out to defend public health, where were each of us? When thousands of doctors and nurses leave Spain every year for other countries because they are not hired here, or it is done for days and even hours, because they are poorly paid, what do each of us think? An example of salaries (footnote) (base gross salary, monthly, without seniority and special supplements, in 14 payments): Health-Doctors € 2,300. Basic health work-Wardens € 1,100. Protection and Security-Police € 2,000. Hospitality-waiters € 1,000. Serv. Auxiliaries-Cleaning € 860. We must rethink our entire labour market, qualify it, endow it, and pay it. What do you think?
At the LOCAL level, towns like Jávea, should they continue to put all their eggs in the same basket? Tourism? Unfortunately, after having punished the planet to the point of exhaustion, DANAs are going to be more frequent and pandemics perhaps, equally.
Should we dedicate the bulk of the budget to tourism, beaches, festivals, brass bands, Moors, fireworks? Maybe we should bet on improving internet communications, with very broadband fiber to attract technological innovation and high value-added industry business parks …? Or we continue betting on restoration, construction and constant concreting. What do you think?