MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center opened at the Merced County Fairgrounds Wednesday, as others continued to step up for a community that has faced so much, like in areas of Planada and Merced completely flooded as atmospheric rivers slammed the Central Valley.
Wednesday, we learned of disturbing reports of looting, and landlords who have stepped up to help their tenants.
People like Gladys Macy and her husband, who came out to the fairgrounds to pick up supplies for their tenants, whose home was not only destroyed by the floods but was also ransacked.
“One of the houses, they got broke into two times… Her daughter was crying saying, you know, ‘why do people do this? We’re devastated as it is, they’re taking my mother’s stuff,'” said Gladys Macy, a Merced landlord.
Another local hero is Armondo Alvarado, who has provided free meals out of his taco truck for those in need all week.
“There was a Planada resident that came up and hadn’t eaten a meal in three days. And so, that kind of led us to keep going,” said Alvarado, the CEO of Taco Al Mando.
Residents got even more relief Wednesday, as FEMA opened the first Disaster Recovery Center in the entire state for this most recent flooding disaster.
Dozens of agencies from the county, state, and federal level, from child services, the DMC, probation offices, and more fill the building.
It may require a wait to get inside, but once you get in there, an entire team of specialists is ready to go to try and address your needs.
“We do ask that they come down and when they talk to our individual assessment specialists, they’re gonna identify what that looks like. It could be anything from personal records to property based. It could be, you know, reconnecting with people you lost track of,” said Kevin Wasiewski, the FEMA Supervisor in support of Merced County.
One Planada man lost everything in the floods.
Wednesday, he said he was able to get some financial assistance to help with relocation expenses he’s experienced like so many others.
“We have to pay for a storage unit, get like so flood mats for our home. Small little things like that, just small little stuff like that. So, it definitely does help. So, we’re very appreciative for that,” said Omar Ramirez, a Planada resident.
FEMA hopes to open additional locations throughout the county to improve access, but that could take some time.
In the meantime, they ask people to come out to the Disaster Recovery Center at the fairgrounds, open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., to try and get any help you need.