Recovery in Planada continues 3 months after destructive flooding

Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Recovery in Planada continues three months after destructive flooding
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It's been three months since a series of atmospheric rivers devastated the town of Planada.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been three months since a series of atmospheric rivers devastated the north valley town of Planada. People were forced to leave their homes as several feet of floodwaters rose inside.

Residents there are primarily renters or uninsured. Since January, they have worked to mop up feet of water from their homes, get rid of their ruined belongings, and salvage what they can.

80-year-old Samuel Gomez describes how water came rushing onto his property and into his home during a torrential downpour in January.

Over the last few months, volunteer groups have helped him demolish the destroyed parts of his house. Materials were just delivered to get started on replacing walls and floors.

Though he has had to live through the construction, he is grateful to see progress being made.

Just a couple minutes outside of town, hundreds of people have spent months at the Felix Torres Migrant Housing.

Maria and her kids are one of about ten families whose stays were extended. The rental she lived in was flooded and is now being sold. She wants to return to Planada but has been struggling to find a new place.

A few doors down, Omar Ramirez, his siblings, and his parents are grateful for more time to determine their next steps.

"It's a little relief. Not so much stress finding somewhere to go," he said. "It definitely helps."

They are still determining when flood repairs will be completed on their long-time rental.

"I've kinda passed through there multiple times during the week, throughout the week," he said. "And I haven't seen workers there."

The family has been in Planada for decades but might need to relocate to Merced if nothing becomes available.

Planada Elementary School had been closed since January's storms because of extensive damage.

Since then, 26 classrooms received new walls, carpet, and whiteboards.

The library and 5th-grade classrooms were a total loss and were moved to portables.

The campus was able to reopen to students last week.

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