SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Thousand of people have been displaced because of the storms. Some are staying at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville.
People here say they are grateful a shelter like this one exists. Many people left without many of their personal items so there are tables full of donated clothing. There’s also food being donated and cots set up throughout for people to sleep.
Hundreds of people who live in Pajaro are temporarily calling the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds home. Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo says it was just after midnight early Saturday morning when they knew they had to evacuate.
“We got word that the levees had broke and that water was going to reach Pajaro in about three hours,” Alejo said.
Alejo says many people left with very little, and they can’t back because the area is completely barricaded off. Andres Garcia says he and his family evacuated around 1-30 in the morning.
“It’s hard, you don’t know what’s going to happen next and you have to leave everything behind.”
He says leaving home has been difficult on his daughters.
“For them, it’s hard to understand what’s happening. So you have to be calm,” Garcia said.
Garcia says he’s grateful for all the community is providing, including the Red Cross which is providing volunteers to staff the shelter. He says his family is going to need the help.
“We’re going to be unemployed for a maybe a month or so,” he said.
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The county supervisor says many of these people will be out of work for the foreseeable future.
“Many of these families work in agriculture and with those fields being flooded that’s damage not only to our food supply but to their jobs. They’re going to be out of work for a long time.”
The county supervisor says this shelter will stay open for as long as it’s needed, and they’re looking at opening another one as well because they expect to reach capacity here in the coming days.