MONTEREY CO., Calif. (KION-TV) Hector Gomez is one of the hundreds growing impatient days after being evacuated from his home in Monterey County’s unincorporated neighborhood of Pajaro. He evacuated during the early morning hours four days ago. His home surveillance shows his home was spared by the levee breach and he’s desperate for clean clothes and essentials for his kids.
In Spanish, he tells KION’s Veronica Macias how they're desperate to get back in for some clean clothes. “We’re asking the county to let us in and grab a pair of belongings. Our bare necessities, no one is trying to get back in to stay. We just want to be a little more comfortable as we wait.”
He’s not alone at the entrance of the bridge. A crowd is growing with people wanting answers and more communication from Monterey County officials.
A video on a community page is showing dry streets within the evacuation zone. People who did not leave are walking around and posting videos online.
KION is aware of some people who have managed to sneak into the evacuated area. They are having to deal with no electricity and no power, where homes were spared by the flood water.
“What I want to know is what were to happen to me if I decided to figure a way in,” said Jesus Elizar in Spanish. “Will they fine me, I just want to go in and grab clothes for me and my child?”
From the bridge, beyond the concrete barriers, KION could see the water has receded. However, a cleanup process is underway. County officials tell us, Cal-Fire crews and county officials are carrying out assessments of the damage, and health inspections are also being performed. The Monterey County Health Department is looking to see if the flood left behind a bigger health concern - any contaminants. Pajaro’s water supply is being tested. Allowing evacuees in would only slow the process.
Gomez says he’s had to spend money to cover his family’s hotel stay and money is tight. Thankfully, his home camera shows water did not reach his doorstep and is not filled with any silt. Plus a woman has opened up her home to him and his family. Others he says have preferred to sleep in their cars over staying at a shelter.
“I neighbors/friends who tell me they didn’t feel comfortable at the shelter. They have kids and someone at the shelter was screaming at 1:00 am in the morning and they don’t want to experience that so they left.”
Many have had no choice but to head to the fairgrounds, families are doing their best to comfort their children and feel like they are being taken care of at area shelters.
If you would like to help families, there are several non-profits collecting donations for these flood victims: