Residents of 55+ community in Merced County face difficulty cleaning up after floods

Kate Nemarich Image
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Residents of 55+ community in Merced County face
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Nearly two weeks after floods devastated communities in Merced County recovery efforts continues. FEMA crews are on the ground Monday, registering people for assistance.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Nearly two weeks after floods devastated communities in Merced County, recovery efforts continue. FEMA crews were on the ground Monday, registering people for assistance.

Removed siding and piles of trash lined the curb as residents of Riviera Holiday Mobile Estates, a 55 and older community, worked to determine the extent of the damage to their homes.

Resident Sue Divine said early on Tuesday, January 10th, flood waters rose to the hood of her car and covered the ramp into her home. She said her two cars are totaled, and she lost family treasures, like photo albums, she kept in her shed.

"My shed is totally destroyed, I'm in question about what's underneath the house structure wise," said Divine. "Is the duct work compromised? Is there mold growing? Is there water still there?"

The homes are elevated, so many seem fine at first glance, but the insulation and utilities that run below in many cases were badly damaged. However, inside the community clubhouse, the damage is easy to see.

"Over a foot of water was in here," said Bill Thomas, on-site manager. "It flooded out the flooring and partially the walls all the way around.

Management estimates repairs will cost more than 150 to 200 thousand dollars. Despite the damage, the clubhouse continues serving the community, storing donated food.

"The Merced Food Bank last minute brought in 3 pallets of non-perishable food for our residents," said Judy Price, property manager.

FEMA has been on site the past 2 days going door to door registering residents for assistance. Price said that help that this help is welcomed by residents, many of who live on a fixed income.

"We've got a lot of support, but we have a long way to go," said Price. "We really are hopeful that our residents are going to receive their funds from FEMA sooner than later."

The Red Cross was also on-site helping residents with their more immediate needs. Price said she and her team are working to direct community members to a wide range of recovery services.