Governor Newsom, state lawmakers survey damage and provide update on resources for Merced

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Sunday, January 15, 2023
Governor Newsom, state lawmakers survey damage and provide update on resources for Merced
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Governor Gavin Newsom was in the North Valley on Saturday to survey the damage from the recent storms.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Governor Gavin Newsom was in the North Valley Saturday to survey the damage from the recent storms.

He, along with state lawmakers, are vowing to do everything they can to help people get back to a place of normalcy.

"People's lives have been affected in a way that none of us would've predicted earlier in the month," state Senator Anna Caballero said during the press conference.

After the city and county were battered by recent storms, people came together to help get each other through.

"The best of people come out in these moments." Governor Newsom said.

RELATED: Zoo animals evacuated, Bear Creek banks reinforced in Merced ahead of storm

The aftermath of the storms is still a threat.

Merced City Manager Stephanie Dietz says the banks of bear creek are unstable and the bike paths are compromised.

"I can tell you from personal observations, it's a silent hazard. Sand is moving as the water is rising and falling and it's nothing that we can predict and nothing that you can see." Dietz said.

Assembly member Esmeralda Soria says top of mind are the kids that are out of school because of flood damage.

"We did make the plea today that he provide some flexibility with the department of education to ensure that kids get some instruction over the coming weeks." Soria said.

Through the series of storms, 5,000 homes were evacuated in Merced alone.

A total of 400 people had to be rescued.

RELATED: Chinook helicopter helps plug levee breach in Merced County ahead of storm

In Planada, all 4,000 people in the town had to evacuate.

The governor says in experiences like this you see inequities exposed and change that needs to be made.

"When they're exposed then we have a responsibility to mitigate and do something about them going forward and that's something I'm also mindful as I travel around here in the community, that we have work to do." Gov. Newsom said.

In addition to long-term changes, the governor also wants to get relief money to those people and businesses who were impacted.

He says they'll also be working with FEMA to at least target communities that need direct assistance saying the Merced area would be one of the top communities in the state.

Until that happens, total up your losses and hang on to any receipts for repairs so you'll be ready if and when that assistance is available.