MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The road to recovery has just begun for those most affected by the intense floods which have impacted parts of Merced County.
Those areas include the city of Merced and the small community of Planada, where evacuation warnings were lifted Monday.
FEMA began its operation at the emergency shelter at the Merced County Fairgrounds, it’s still early in the process there and around the county as FEMA reps look to get people into their system in the early days of their operation so they are eligible for any relief.
“It’s gonna be a case-by-case basis what recovery looks like for each individual,” said Kevin Wasiewski, FEMA supervisor in support of Merced County.
Wasiewski couldn’t provide specifics on what exactly relief could look like for those impacted but said the county and state have assessed the damages already and FEMA will continue to do so.
“Floods tend to be one of the most expensive natural disasters that occur. It goes without saying, personal belongings, whether it’s agricultural, private, business,” said Wasiewski.
He couldn’t provide an estimated cost of the damage at this point, instead, he called it “massive”.
Residents most affected by the floods, like in Merced and Planada, have been forced to utilize shelters like the one at the Merced County fairgrounds, which has continued to see about 100 people a day even after flood waters receded.
“They need to get a roof over their heads. They need to be stable. So that’s something I think every county agency and every organization that’s out here is just trying to support the survivors of the disaster,” said Sharon Wardale-Trejo, the PIO for shelter communications in Merced County.
What’s called the “Disaster Recovery Center” will also open at the fairgrounds on Wednesday or Thursday.
The plan is for it to be a one-stop-shop to help anyone affected by the floods.
“Resources from all of the community organizations as well as county government, when you need planning when you need documentation when you need permits when you need unemployment benefits and things like that,” said Wardale-Trejo.
Wardale Trejo said have also provided a shelter in Planada to house around 30 families that lost a safe place to live.
They say they continue to work with the United Way of Merced County to get those people things like sheets, blankets, and pillows that may have been lost or destroyed in the floods.
If you’d like to donate, you can do so at the link https://www.unitedwaymerced.org/