Recovery continues for many in devastating San Jose flooding

ByLeslie Brinkley via KGO logo
Sunday, February 26, 2017
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The process of re-entry and recovery is underway for many San Jose flood victims, but not everyone is heading home.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The effort to rise from the flood waters is proving to be quite a challenge for residents in San Jose. As of Saturday night, evacuations were still in place in the Rock Springs area, the Old Oakland Road Mobile Home Park and the Williams Street Park neighborhood.

Evacuations began Tuesday with 14,000 people under a mandatory order. A total of 4,554 units are still in the mandatory evacuation areas and the city says police have increased patrol there.

San Jose's mayor says he will ask for a public meeting to discuss the city's response admitting that a clear failure, led to the flooding and a delay in evacuations.

RESOURCES: San Jose flood evacuation info and how to help

It's been a challenge for many residents to clean up.

"Here we're doing a decontamination and opened up the walls we extracted all the water," said Sal Garcia, San Jose resident.

The next step is bringing in dehumidifiers for a three day dry out at this home. Block after block crews are Pumping out water as flood victims salvage what they can when they get access.

One mom was here advocating for her daughter who lives in a red-tagged apartment.

"She said she had to pay as long as her stuff was there, regardless of whether she had access and I think that's very unfair of the landlord," said Mary McKay, flood victim.

Those kinds of problems and questions are being referred to a newly opened local assistance center where victims of the Coyote Creek flood can plug into help from nonprofits and the government.

"People who need access to rental assistance and food, to people who have questions on how to handle insurance and contractors to do repairs in their home," said San Jose Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh.

Over a half a million dollars has poured into a community foundation fund. Charities are shuttling in clothes and donors are dropping off food, suitcases and pet carriers at one of the shelters at James Lick High School. What they need most though is money to help people with storage units and down payments for new places to live.

"It hits you hard sometimes, but that's why we do what we do," said Julia Bishop, Red Cross volunteer.

"We are really focused on recovery this weekend. Next week, we're going to focus on how do we fix this going forward," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

There will be a public hearing to improve notification so this never happens again.

PHOTOS: Flood waters rip through San Jose causing damage, evacuations

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Sky7 shows a car immersed in floodwater on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 (left) and again on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 (right), when floodwaters receded in San Jose, Calif. (KGO-TV)