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Residents displaced by flooding in Monterey County still unable to return home

 Pajaro Emergency Levee Repair.
Monterey County Department of Emergency Management
Pajaro Emergency Levee Repair.

Muddy flood waters engulfed the town of Pajaro last week, forcing thousands to evacuate. Although the storm that caused the flooding has cleared, residents still aren’t allowed to return home.

The north Monterey County town is recovering from an atmospheric storm that caused a massive river levee breach. Displaced residents are desperate to know when they will be able to go back home.

During a press conference Thursday, Monterey County Undersheriff Keith Boyd said county officials still aren’t sure.

"That's to be determined. There's a lot of factors," Boyd said.

Boyd said the recovery process won’t be easy. The flooding caused severe damage to the town’s infrastructure, making it unsafe for residents to return.

"We have a community that was inundated with water at varying heights affecting those structures. The sewer system was impacted, mud, silt sewer... there are a lot of potential contaminants that are in the area," he said.

Boyd says residents will be allowed to return once officials confirm conditions in the area are no longer dangerous.

“We can't just allow the public back into their homes because potentially we would we have to know that we're not putting them back into harm's way," he said.

Dan Baldwin is the President of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. He said the foundation has set up a special fund for disaster victims, especially Pajaro residents.

"So far, it has been really focused on getting direct financial support to people who are impacted. We have dealing with people in all parts of the county originally, but now obviously the focus has turned to Pajaro," Baldwin said.

Monterey County is also providing several resources for residents affected by the storms, including shelters and an online recovery webpage.

Monterey County Emergency Services Department

Monterey County 211

Monterey County evacuation map

Amanda Wernik is a reporter and substitute announcer at KCBX. She graduated from Cal Poly with a BS in Journalism. During her time at Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor for KCPR Radio and as an intern for the CJ Silas Show on ESPN Radio. Amanda enjoys surfing, reading, playing with her dog, traveling, and fronting her own rock band, Kiwi Kannibal.
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