FEMA Steps up help for Planada; Residents urge for more assistance

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Saturday, February 4, 2023
FEMA steps up help for Planada, residents urge for more assistance
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Residents in Planada are still in recovery mode after devastating floods hit the area about three weeks ago.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Residents in Planada are still in recovery mode after devastating floods hit the area about three weeks ago.

As the community waits for continued help, many are asking for more help to prevent future flooding.

Dump trucks with cranes arrived in Planada on Friday morning to help with the clean-up.

It was the first day residents were able to start piling debris in front of their homes rather than having to haul it out.

"We've been throwing away beds, counters, tables, everything that's been in the house. We have nothing left in the house. Everything is out here, and you can see all the trash that's been left out here, a lot of things and people are mad," said Ricardo Cerna, Planada Resident.

FEMA officials were on hand at a town hall meeting Thursday, to explain the new plan to help people clean up their flooded homes. Contractors are now being hired to help with the cleanup process.

"As these contractors come here and start the process of moving debris, we anticipate there will be more debris added to the pile," said Mark Hendrickson, Director of Community and Economic Development with Merced County.

It's not just homes that have to be cleaned up.

Work is underway to clear up local waterways.

"We do anticipate ongoing cleanup, the ongoing work in our creeks and our canal, strengthening our roads. All those things that were impacted by the storm," added Hendrickson.

But that clean-up is expected to take weeks.

"We're working, been in meetings constantly with our state and federal partners on solutions and funding mechanisms for mitigation to hopefully prevent something like this happening again," said Adam Amaral, Emergency Services Manager with Merced County.

Meanwhile neighbors are wondering why this happened in the first place.

"Why wasn't this ever cleaned, did the levee really break or was it broken to avoid a bigger disaster due to poor planning," questioned a Merced resident

Officials do want to remind people that this is not a dumping ground, residents have witnessed people from other towns come by and dump a load of trash. That is not allowed.

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