Tulare County trying to find link between drought and health

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tulare County is trying to connect the dots between the drought and health problems. On Tuesday, dozens of volunteers were sent out to conduct a survey in towns suffering the most to find answers.

Every day for Tammy Yeley is a struggle. She spends most of them in bed, building up the strength to get up and find water.

"It's hard, really hard when you have health issues," Yeley said.

She has diabetes, breathing problems and something is wrong with her spine. Treatment, she says, is draining, "it wears you out," and life without water is making things worse, "it's so overwhelming, it's hard to explain, unless you're living through it."

Tulare County wants to find an explanation -- a link between health and drought and whether it leads to stress and poverty. So for 3 days, volunteers will be going door to door in places like East Porterville, Cutler and Orosi to ask questions.

David Rozell who is with the county says the answers will help people survive.

"Now we'll be able to look at some of the funding available and have that hard data to say, here's the situation," Rozell said, "here's the intervention we want to take and this is how we want to apply the funding."

The county is looking at the bigger picture while Yeley is focused on today. She's being forced to move by her landlord and for her health, "anything is better than here," she added.

She said her year has been full of struggles and the memories won't be good. "The emotional trauma of it, yeah...will last for a while," Yeley said.
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