Immigrants from Eastern Europe have flocked to Manville, and its Polish population is one of the largest in the state: a downtown church, the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, holds two Polish masses on Sundays, and there are two delicatessens that sell Eastern European dishes like pierogies and stuffing. cabbage. Immigrants from Central and South America diversified Manville.

Mauro Rojas and Karla Licano, originally from Costa Rica, moved to Manville two years ago. They examined 30 houses but bought the one on Avenue Boesel in the Lost Valley. The house was near a large park and near a river, and had a back yard with a large porch and an above ground pool. It was perfect for a family with a young girl and a dog.

The couple had heard that the house had a 1% flood risk and even knew several surrounding lots were empty because the government had bought and demolished flood-prone homes. They took a chance. But the night the floodwaters rose, they saw the house of their dreams – and all the items it contained – disappear.

When water began to seep into their first floor from the basement and the front door, Mr Rojas, who runs a painting business, grabbed a ladder and led his family, including their Beagle mix, on the roof.

Their daughter, Elena, snuggled up in her blanket. The dog trembled. In tears and in disbelief, the family watched their 1,200 gallon swimming pool rise from the ground, lifted by the water below.

In the morning, after getting into a lifeguard’s boat, Elena began to cry when she saw the 27 rainbow-colored bags she and her mother had filled with lighted glasses, buckles for hair, chocolates and other treats the night before. They were floating in the street. It was his sixth birthday.

“She said, ‘Mom, my birthday bags! No!’ and my heart broke, ”Ms. Licano, a secretary, said on Tuesday as she cried on muddy ground.

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