Clean up continues in Planada as residents prepare for more storms

Alyssa Flores Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Clean up continues in Planada as residents prepare for more storms
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At the Planada Community Center, residents lined up at food trucks that were providing free meals on Friday.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- After destructive floodwaters left homes in unlivable conditions, residents continued to clean up the debris in Planada on Friday.

Cars lined up at Planada Middle School, where water, food, cleaning supplies, shovels and rakes were distributed by the Red Cross with the help of Merced County sheriff's deputies.

"When they go to their homes, their homes are messed up. Their stuff is distorted, there is debris inside their homes," said Alexandra Britton with the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

More than 30 reps will be visiting as many as 1,800 homes through the weekend to make sure gas service is safely restored.

"We are going to check for corrosion, if we don't find any we are going to do a gas safety check in the house. We are going to help customers relight their pilot lights," explained Denny Boyles with PG&E.

Planada Elementary Unified Superintendent Jose Gonzalez says 90% of their Elementary school was underwater this week.

On Friday, teachers returned to their classrooms to see the devastation.

"There is a lot of personal resources that they invest into those classrooms. It was. A petty traumatic experience for them to enter their space and know that all of that is going to be lost," said Gonzalez.

Kids won't start schoolwork until January 23 at the soonest.

RELATED: Evacuation order downgraded for Planada, residents able to return home

Remote schooling isn't possible because most of the 450 students don't have a home to learn from.

"They don't have that safe space that safe shelter that they had during COVID"

Cesar Chavez Middle School remains unharmed. District staff are considering having elementary and middle school students take shifts there as a temporary solution.

At the town's community Center, residents lined up at food trucks providing free meals.

World Central Kitchen is offsetting the cost and are prepared to feed thousands through the weekend.

During the afternoon, rain made a return. Sandbags were already back in place in some neighborhoods as more storm clouds loomed.

After watching their street turn into a river this week, the Villa family has storm-proofed their home and plans to voluntarily evacuate.

As the rain picked up, people rushed to empty truckloads of furniture and debris that were damaged by the water that flooded into their homes.

"There is a lot of people that didn't have flood insurance," said Daniela Ceja Arceo, a resident of Planada. "This has never happened in Planada before so they can't go back to their homes It's an emergency. It's a disaster."

PG&E is asking Planada residents to try and make sure at least one person is home so they can get inside and perform services.