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January 31, 2023

Biden declares emergency, frees up federal aid

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—President Joe Biden on Saturday declared a disaster exists in the storm-damaged parts of California, freeing up federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties.

Biden’s declaration came hours after Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and CalOES Chief Deputy Lisa Mangat visited Santa Cruz County, says Supervisor Felipe Hernandez.

The tour began in Bay Village around the Atri Park area and moved to the area of Holohan and College roads, which was under flood waters at the time, Hernandez says.

“The need for disaster relief is clear and present in all the affected areas in the district, and I hope FEMA will expedite its process,” he said. 

Hernandez added that the most important message for residents with flood damage is to document, keep receipts and take pictures and videos of all damages, of all work done or expenses incurred due to flooding.

Watsonville City Councilwoman Ari Parker stressed that many in her district are on fixed income and that federal recovery is desperately needed.

The tour also included the Seacliff area and Capitola Village before ending with a presentation and discussion at the County Emergency Operations Command office.

FEMA assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help residents and business owners recover.

Funds are also available to local governments and nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the affected counties.

Damage assessments are continuing, and additional areas may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.

Residents and business owners who suffered losses find information at, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA App.


  1. Zach Friend never misses a photo op but has not been able to show up to his council meetings in person for years (except the last two)!

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    • well, then he is learning from his new colleague Felipe Hernandez. he did not show up for Cabrillo board meetings, or was always late. he missed our graduation last May, the first one in 3 years.
      Biden will be in Santa Cruz county Thursday.

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