CA needs more attention from federal government amid severe storm damage, Lt. Gov. says

Lauren Martinez Image
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Lt. Gov. says CA needs more federal assistance for storm victims
On Wednesday, California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis visited farms and homes damaged during recent storms.

PAJARO, Calif. (KGO) -- On Wednesday, California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis visited Healthy Harvest in Parajo, a berry farm and shipping company severely damaged during recent storms.

"Part of the reason that I came down here to survey the damage is to help my voice for the incredible need for the community and the reason why this declaration is so, so needed," Kounaliakis said.

Kounalakis hopes her visit will add to Governor Newsom's request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. She said California needs more attention from Washington.

"President Biden, the people here need your help," Kounaliakis said. "We're all the way out here on the West Coast but this is a real disaster and families are waiting and very hopeful for additional assistance."

RELATED: Storm-impacted CA communities could receive long-awaited FEMA help

From top to bottom, the state has experienced extreme weather. The Bay Area alone experienced snow, flooding, mudslides, and widespread power outages.

ABC7 asked Kounalakis what she has to say to people frustrated with PG&E.

"We're doing our best to work with the utility companies to make improvements to the grid," Kounaliakis said. "Battery storage, other ways as we transition into clean energy in the future."

As far as preventative steps the state is thinking of taking in the future, Kounalakis repeated the partnership of the federal government.

VIDEO: Aerial views of Salinas River flooding in Monterey County as levee breaks from overflowing water

Sky 7 video shows a levee break as the Salinas River in Monterey County overflows its banks, flooding farmland in the area.

"It's not a matter of what the state can do it's about partnering with the federal government too as well in the coming months for relief but also to prepare unfortunately for this extreme era of weather that we're living in," Kounaliakis said.

Tomas Garcia took his parents to their home that has been yellow-tagged due to damage. It isn't safe to stay there overnight. They're waiting for insurance adjusters to return and file claims.

"A lot of damage, the foundation and everything. We need to wait for the authorities to tell us if it's safe to come back," Garcia said.

Garcia thinks more state officials need to visit the community he was born and raised in.

"Just by people saying it's not the same thing, videos, it's not the same - by coming over here and seeing the sadness of the people, their faces, their hope to come back," Garcia said.

VIDEO: Monterey County flooding forces evacuations as farmers face serious impacts

A levee break in the small Monterey County community of Pajaro has forced the evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents, virtually the entire town.

His parents are determined to come back to their home. Antonio Hueso, who lives across the street, is undecided if he and his wife are going to stay.

Hueso is former raspberry farmer. He raised his family in his house for nearly 50 years. He said they were flooded in 1995 but this year has been worse.

They need a contractor to come out, survey the damage, and send the total costs to insurance. He owns two homes in Pajaro.

"I believe for both houses maybe 40, 40 thousand. I believe, I hope," Hueso said.

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